MEXICO


Spending two months in Mexico in the Autumn of 2018 was a significant part of my life. It has left me with an enduring love for this big and diverse happy country with its' emotional and generous people.
Despite its' problems there is a happiness and love of life which seems to pervade all sectors of life enhanced by colour, sun, and music.

I have been fortunate to visit the two museums in San Luis Potosí and Xilitla, Mexico dedicated to Leonora Carrington and the Surrealist 'garden' Las Posas, Xilitla, created by Edward James. I knew little about these two artists before coming here but it has been a visual and  rivetting experience to enter into their dreamlike and magical worlds.

This is a brief account of Leonora Carrington and links to a page on Edward James artists, with information mainly from Mexican guides, much more detail can be found on the net but here I have put in photographs which I have taken of their works, which bring more than any written description I can provide.

Leonora Carrington and her dogs in Xilitla
Leonora and her dogs in Xilitla
'a photograph in the Museum'

   
And then we saw the daughter of the Minotaur


Leanora and Chiki Weisz in San Lus Potosi



Images taken in San Luis Potosi and Xilitla
Leonora Carrington was born in Lancashire in 1917 into a wealthy family. Always difficult and rebellious, she was expelled from two schools. At 18 she met the married Max Ernst who was twenty six years older than her and the relationship being much disapproved of by her family, they left for Paris.
When the war broke out thepair went to the South of France and Ernst was arrested first as a German spy and then by the Germans because his art was degenerate. Leonora fled to Spain where she had a breakdown and was forcibly hospitalised under cruel conditions by her parents. Her nurse helped her escape to Portugal where she was taken in by the Mexican Embassy eventually marrying the consul, Renato Leduc. After the war, Leanora and her husband came to Mexico but the marriage didn't last and she met and married an Hungarian photographer, Chiki Weisz who was the father of her two sons.
 San Luis Potosi have turned the imposing old State jail building into Los Centro de Artes with much dedicated to Leonora's work . The project was overseen and helped by her son, Pablo Weitz.
 I spent much time in this building with its thick walls, large courtyard and pink painted cells without doors all opening into this fantastical world of surrealism in both large and small bronze and silver sculptures. A dark area, the Hall of Mirrors enchants with an animated version of the first part of Carrington’s book, White Rabbits. The animation of the story set on the imaginary Pest Street, directed by Luis Cabrera, illustrated by Richard Zela and dramatized by Beatriz Cecilia, sees ghost-like figures and insects floating from mirror to mirror and is as eerie and delightful.
The Museum in Xilitla is smaller with more photographs of Leonora and the house where she stayed while visting Edward James

Leonora Carrington redefined the imagery of women. Her surrealism combined magical
imagery, distorted religious iconography and was greatly influenced by Mayan and Mexican folklore. She was, above all, an artist and within that scope come sculptures, paintings, lithographs, set designs and her books. In later years, she was one of the founders of the Woman’s Liberation Movement in the 1970’s in Mexico where she died, age 94.
A translated text from her on a wall alongside her work in Xiltla says, ‘I am as a shell of the life that covers the divine in the human animal, the life force that directs every living species, the amoeba ...the lion....