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Saturday, November 3 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
8.D. Leonora Carrington

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PANEL. Leonora Carrington

“Cauldrons and Curanderas: The Magical Collaborations of Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington”
Susan L. Aberth
Bard College
Tere Arcq

Independent Curator
Arriving in Mexico City in the 1940s as émigrés from war-torn Europe, the Spanish artist Remedios Varo and the British artist Leonora Carrington formed a close friendship that lasted until the former’s untimely death in 1963. Together they explored the magical traditions of multiple cultures in order to fuel their creative vision of female-centric spiritual practices. Mixing the esoteric traditions of Europe, such as Alchemy, astrology, and the Tarot, with various indigenous Mexican healing and visionary practices, they formed a singular visual language that upended misogynist hierarchies and placed the mysterious forces of nature at the center of their art production. In addition they also threw into the mix the teachings of Gurdjieff, Spiritualism, Tibetan Buddhism and the Kabala in order to distill a potent multivalent global symbolic system. The speakers, who are in the process of forming an exhibition and book to celebrate their remarkable partnership, will explore the powerful collaboration between these surrealist women artists. In an attempt to mirror the spirit of this alliance, they will take into account their own teamwork during the research, writing and curating in order to better understand the magical underpinnings of this historic and unique collaboration that is of such fascination to audiences of today.

"Alchemy, Metamorphosis, and Sign Transformation: Iconoclash in Leonora Carrington’s Works on Wood, Wool, Silk, and Vellum"
Kendall DeBoer
University of Rochester

Bruno Latour defines iconoclash as “when one does not know […] whether [an action] is destructive or constructive”; he provides this neologism in contrast to iconoclasm’s apparent “project of destruction” as part of his larger argument for the inextricability of image-making and image-breaking. 1 Latour’s term for simultaneous destruction and construction provides an apt methodological tool for analyzing Leonora Carrington’s mature works. Carrington’s 1960s and 70s material supports—wood, wool, silk, and vellum—animate her objects with long traditions of artisanship and craft history. The materials come from living beings: trees, sheep, cocoons, and calves. Carrington’s specific intellectual concern with alchemical transformation of matter suggests that her plant- and animal-sourced materials are significant. Latourian iconoclash operates on at least three levels in these works. Carrington’s selection of life-imbued materials for her supports is the first iconoclash. To create her supports, trees are cut down, sheep are shorn, silk worm cocoons are dissolved in boiling water, and skin is cut from calves. The second iconoclash occurs in Carrington’s pictorial content, rife with transmutations, metamorphoses, and hybrid entities. A third relationship to historic iconoclasm emerges in the rich relationship her works share, both materially and pictorially, with Byzantine objects. Carrington’s late works demonstrate that though her radical appeal as a woman surrealist may qualify her as an iconoclast, her art objects already exist in an entangled web of highly suggestive materials and images, in which destruction and construction occur at once.

"Leonora Carrington and her Moving Images"
Lea Petrikova
Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts, Prague

Although the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington did not utilize the most recent mediums - film and video – as a means of artistic expression, her work and personality affected the audiovisual field in some way. This paper attempts to explore this influence and broaden the understanding of Carrington's work.  The relationship Carrington had to moving images is described as follows: the intermediality of Carrington's work, Carrington and Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Carrington´s production design. This paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to the artist. Carrington is introduced not just as a painter and writer, but primarily as a versatile artist transcending categories of expression. Using the a theory of migrating symbolism, the artist's work is examined in the context of the movement between medial forms.

avatar for Susan Aberth

Susan Aberth

Associate Professor, Bard College

Tere Arcq

Independent Curator
avatar for Kendall DeBoer

Kendall DeBoer

University of Rochester
avatar for Lea Petrikova

Lea Petrikova

Academy of Performing Arts, Prague


Ashley Busby

Susquehanna University

Saturday November 3, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Room D. Bertrand Library: Traditional Reading Room (second floor)