Art is a language that helps to blur the differences between human beings from different countries, races and religions. As an esperanto, art breaks the boundaries that otherwise would hold our thoughts and emotions captive. I am an art fanatic and as such I enjoy dance, music, painting, photography, and many other artistic expressions. Very few forms of art however, have the complexity and mysticism that can be found in the paintings of Remedios Varo.
I still remember the first time I came across one of Remedios' paintings. I was still a young child. The magic portrayed in her art amazed me. It was as if a story was being told without having to say a word. There were characters full of emotion, hidden objects, furniture that became alive, animals that could speak. The intricacy of her art is indescribable until captured by one's own eyes.
Remedios was born in Spain in 1908. She always struggled to combine the mythic with the scientific, the sacred with the profane. Her parents were a big influence in her life; they were always teaching her moral aspects and the mechanics of life. Remedios decided to evade the civil war that was going on in Spain and moved to Paris instead - where the art movements were in vogue.
In Europe she was influenced by the surrealist movement and the study of metaphysics. She was motivated by ancient studies and literature, but also by physics, mathematics, engineering, biology and psychoanalysis. After some years, she decided to move to Mexico with a friend she met while in Europe. In Mexico, her real journey as an artist began as tt was then that Varo decided to go on the most beautiful of travels... the one to her imagination. She has a collection of approximately 140 art pieces, and 110 of these were created in Mexico City.
Her characters are mystical and solitary; most of the time involved in scientific activities. They often have almond-shaped eyes, and androgynous features of Varo's self portraits. Remedios was influenced mainly by her father who encouraged her to develop the ability to draft. She went to one of the most recognized art schools worldwide, the San Fernando Academy in Spain. There she met Salvador Dalí and followed his skills. As an artist, she liked to use symbolism and hidden elements such as animals (mainly cats) in her paintings.
Diverse characters emerge in her painting with unusual attitudes: contemplative, passive, highly symbolic; reflection of the instability which can be overcome or changed. All of them are part of a unique world which involves developed concepts of magic and imagination. Remedios also used vehicles in most of her paintings. These are utopian vehicles of cosmic propulsion traveling through land, air and sea, with gears, sails and transmissions that respond to superior energy sources.
Unfortunately, in the fall of 1963 she died from excessive tension and an addiction to cigarettes. But we cannot consider her dead. Her paintings are still influencing millions of people around the world. Remedios Varo did not die... she just transitioned to a divine place where she is finally able to interact with her own characters and spend evenings chatting with geniuses like herself.
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The Art of Remedios Varo, Interactive CD.
Pictures - Museo de Arte Moderno - Mexico City