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Saturday, November 3 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
6.C. Surrealist Archipelagos

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PANEL. Surrealist Archipelagos

"Canary Islands as Surrealist landscape"
Angeles Alemán Gómez
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The link between Surrealism and Canary Islands started with Oscar Dominguez paintings in 1934. A year later, André Breton, Jacqueline Lamba and Benjamin Peret travelled to Tenerife for opening the II International Surrealist Exhibition. André Breton was very impressed by the volcanic landscape of Tenerife, and he wrote about the Teide mountain a central chapter of L’Amour fou. Several years later Eduardo Westerdahl, Breton’ host, and devoted surrealist critic of art himself, met and married Surrealist artist Maud Bonneaud. She went to live in Tenerife after 1953, and until 1965, they organised surrealist exhibitions in the Instituto de Estudios Hispánicos de Canarias (IEHC). Among the exhibitions they organised was an Eileen Agar exhibition. Agar, a very important British surrealist painter, used to spend winter in Tenerife. She painted the volcanic landscape and the legendary heroes of Canary Islands as well. Valentine Penrose the surrealist poet, visited Tenerife several times in those years, invited by Maud Bonneaud -Westerdahl. She wrote beautiful poems about the volcanic landscape and about local folklore. She had a strong friendship with several surrealist poets of Canary Islands, such as Pedro Garcia Cabrera and Domingo Perez Minik. In this paper, I will try to explain how important Surrealism was in Canary Islands and how the volcanic landscape of these Islands was a source of inspiration to Surrealist poets and painters. Key words: Surrealism, Volcanic landscape, André Breton, Maud Bonneaud, Eileen Agar, Valentine Penrose.

“Eugenio Fernández Granell, Surrealism and the Caribbean”
Natalia Fernández
Fundación Eugenio Granell

My presentation will address the importance of the Spanish surrealist painter, Eugenio Fernández Granell who, in the 40s and 50s, was instrumental in introducing surrealism to two Caribbean islands: the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Granell landed in the Dominican Republic after fleeing in exile at the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He began painting in this island and his first one-man show (1943) had a terrific impact on the island’s culture. The exhibit (and others that followed) was welcomed as groundbreaking for the island. André Breton, also in exile, landed for a few days in the island. Granell, who wrote for the “La Nación” newspaper interviewed him. Breton encouraged him and a long lasting friendship began. In 1950 Granell moved to Puerto Rico to become an art teacher at its university. The students who studied under him, both men and women, with time became important painters, poets, writers of the Puerto Rican cultural scene. They created a group called “El Mirador Azul” (“The Blue Lookout”). In the 60s, living now in New York City, Granell's friendship with Marcel Duchamp facilitated several gallery shows in that city. Granell was also involved with the New York surrealist group which found much comfort and support in his words and his work. Throughout many years he participated in Edouard Jaguer’s “Phases” Group.

“Eugenio Fernández Granell's The Novel of the Tupinamba Indian"
David Coulter
Independent Artist and Translator
My presentation will address Eugenio Fernández Granell's The Novel of the Tupinamba Indian, a book that Michael Richardson calls “one of the finest of all novels written by surrealists.” The book is especially noteworthy for being the only novel about the Spanish Civil War written by a surrealist (that is, one who actively participated in surrealist exhibitions mounted by the Paris surrealist group) as opposed to being a “surreal” novel. My introductory remarks will focus on major themes of the novel: Eugenio Granell’s participation in the Spanish Civil War, exile, colonialism, and contact with the Caribbean. In addition, I will discuss political, philosophical, literary (Cervantes, Ramón del Valle-Inclán, surrealism) and artistic (Goya, Picasso, Wifredo Lam, et al) influences on the author and the novel. It is noteworthy that Granell’s doctoral thesis at The New School for Social Research, Picasso’s Guernica: The End of a Spanish Era, explores the modern era of Spain through the prism of Picasso’s painting and tauromachy, “the whole disruption of the bullfighting order – the violent crumbling of the ideal society”. My presentation will include reading passages from the novel.

Speakers
DC

David Coulter

Independent Artist and Translator
NF

Natalia Fernández

Fundación Eugenio Granell
avatar for Angeles Alemán Gómez

Angeles Alemán Gómez

Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Women artists, Avant garde in Canary Islands, Contemporary art, Cultural Heritage, Culture and tourism

Chairs
KW

Kristin Watterott

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Saturday November 3, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm
Room C. Vaughan Literature: Willard Smith Library (ground floor)