sábado, 6 de junio de 2009

When Leonora Carrington met her future husband Chiki Weisz in 1944

Leonora Carrington fue una mujer con una presencia formidable en México, lo cual se vio reflejado tanto en su obra plástica como literaria, al incluir aspectos del arte popular del país, expresó la escritora Elena Poniatowska, quien se dijo consternada por el deceso de su amiga.

“Leonora no sería Leonora sin México”, expresó Poniatowska parafraseando a Pablo Weisz, uno de los hijos de Carrington, quien considera que México fue esencial para su madre, lo cual incluyó en su pintura y escritura.

En este desempeño artístico, es posible apreciar muchos motivos de la vida cotidiana mexicana, como son los caballitos de petate, los molcajetes y su gastronomía.

En una entrevista concedida a una televisora, recordó que a la pintora británica radicada en México desde 1942 no le gustaban los homenajes ni los reconocimientos.

También habló del amor entrañable que tenía a sus hijos Pablo y Gabriel.

“Leonora adoraba a sus hijos Gabi y Pablo, los llamaba varias veces al día. Ellos la acompañaron siempre, juntos formaron una célula casi inexplicable de tan apretada que era. Creo que para ellos va a ser una pérdida inmensa”, advirtió la escritora, quien refirió que la pintora también tenía un aprecio especial por los animales.

El último animal que poseyó fue un perro, al que llamó “Yetti”, rememoró Poniatowska, quien recordó que en los últimos años vio a Carrington muy bien, que sonreía con mucha facilidad.

De hecho, dijo, hace un mes se reunió con Leonora en su casa, donde estuvieron viendo la televisión.

“Hace un mes que no la veía porque he estado viajando mucho, la última vez que la vi, vimos juntas la televisión y yo sentía que la quería entrañablemente”, concluyó la escritora, llena de consternación.

When Leonora Carrington met her future husband Chiki Weisz in 1944, she had already packed more adventures into her 27 years than most people would fit into five lifetimes. Behind her was an upper middle class Catholic childhood in Lancashire in the north of England; the scandal of an elopement, aged just twenty, with the Surrealist Max Ernst, who was more than twice her age and already married; then a searing break with him, while he was incarcerated in a labour camp; a hair-raising drive across the Pyrenees; a spell of confinement in a Spanish lunatic asylum; a first marriage to a Mexican diplomat to whom she had originally been introduced by Pablo Picasso; and a voyage across the Atlantic to freedom from, as she puts it, both the Nazis and her family. Of the two, she is fond of saying, her family was definitely the worst.
After a spell in New York, Leonora and her first husband Renato Leduc headed south to his homeland, Mexico, in search of a new life. But it was a new life that was not to be: after a few months, the couple were to go their separate ways, albeit amicably. One evening, in a bar in Mexico City, Leonora met Chiki. His real name was Emerico and, a few years older than Leonora, he had been born and raised in Hungary before becoming a photographer, and the partner of fellow photojournalist Robert Capa. A Jew, he had lost almost his entire family to the Holocaust – and like many other artists and writers from Europe, he had been drawn to Mexico because of the country's open-door policy to refugees.
Both Leonora and Chiki were a long way from home, and both were entirely without family support. Together, in Mexico City, they gathered a substitute family around them: an inner circle that consisted of other European artists and writers. These included the Spanish painter Remedios Varo and her poet husband Benjamin Péret; Kati Horna, another Hungarian photographer, and her husband José Horna, a Spanish sculptor and the painter Esteban Francés, who stayed in Mexico for a few years before moving to New York. Others in their set included the Surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and Wolfgang Paalen and his wife, the French painter Alice Rahon. They were an intoxicating mix: lively and spirited, supportive and tight-knit, intellectual and talented. Around them, beyond their immediate circle, was the wider world of home-grown Mexican art, itself in the throes of a fascinating period, with artists like Rufino Tamayo, María Izquierdo and Gunther Gerzso providing an alternative vision to the Social Realist muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. While the different artistic groups remained distinct, with some suspicion on all sides, there was definitely cross-fertilization – the European-educated Gerszo, for example, was a member of Leonora and Chiki's circle, and Leonora remembers chatting for a long time with Rivera at the reception after his second marriage to Frida Kahlo.
But it was the European group who gathered around Leonora and Chiki on their wedding day, a group captured by Kati Horna's shots that afternoon. They show an exuberant, bubbling group of friends: all of whom had left an old, war-torn continent behind them, and who were looking forward to a future filled with opportunities and possibilities. What could be more emblematic of the promise that lay ahead than to be able to celebrate the joining together in marriage of two of their own? Leonora's face, at the centre of the group in most of the shots, is especially youthful: she is holding tightly on to Chiki's hand, and in the other she has one of her ubiquitous cigarettes (she is smoking them still, aged 92, and, in fact, she still lives in the same corner of Mexico City where that wedding party was held six decades ago).

Leonora painted Chiki Ton Pays the following year: by then, she was the mother of one son and already pregnant with another. But despite pregnancy, and the demands of a baby, this was the start of a prolific period for her, and this work – together with Les Distractions de Dagobert painted a couple of years earlier – is an intricate and complex piece. Leonora never discusses any element of her work or why she has painted what she has, but looking at it today – and having spent many hours with her over the last few years – I see in it a testament both to the adventures of her extraordinarily packed youth, and to the hope she feels about the years ahead. As so often in her work, there is evidence of an underworld, but it is a much less sinister mythical abode than in many of her other paintings. Yellows and greens brighten and lift the canvas, a kite flies optimistically on the breeze and Chiki and Leonora are ensconced together in their exotic-looking transport, their nest secured above. Chiki is looking resolutely ahead, at the path along which life will carry the pair: Leonora gazes out at us, the viewer, as if to say: 'come along on this journey with us! Who knows what may happen, but there should be plenty of excitements ahead.' As, indeed, there would be.

1 comentario:

Dharmasu dijo...

Hi, Check out Leonora in the trailer for "Artistas: the Maiden, Mother, and Crone!


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