11 | NOV | 2019
Remedios Varo: witchcraft, magic, and feminism
Remedios Varo is one of the most prominent Surrealist painters - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Remedios Varo: witchcraft, magic, and feminism

08/10/2019
15:44
Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English
Mexico City
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Varo is among the most important and influential Surrealist artists of the 20th century

Remedios Varo was a Spanish-Mexican artist and one of the leaders of the Surrealist movement. She is known for her cryptic paintings, which deal with witchcraft, alchemy, magic, psychology, occultism, gender rights, and political repression.

Remedios Varo was born on December 16, 1908, in Spain. While living in Barcelona, Varo joined the Surrealist movement and joined the avant-garde artists’ group Logicophobista. She moved to Paris in 1937 but could not return after the Spanish Civil War and traveled to Mexico in 1941.

Once in Mexico, Varo became friends with fellow refugees and artists, including artists such as Leonora Carrington, Kati Horna, Octavio Paz, Wolfgang Paalen, and Gordon Onslow Ford, among others.

Besides being a prolific painter, she was an alchemist and naturalist. She was also interested in the occult and the spiritual world. Varo is also considered as a proto-feminist artist, according to The Art Story, Varo, Carrington, and Horna were “sensitive to a shared ancestral/evolutionary feminine consciousness and felt determined to free women from repressive patriarchal hierarchies, often illustrated in the work of Varo by repeated motifs of the cage and the tower. Imbued at once with a natural and cultivated understanding of opposites and union, Varo and her friends transformed relatively small and domestic experiences into colossal and universal ideas.”

Furthermore, although many of her paintings portray androgynous figures or anthropomorphic characters when Varo painted female figures, she depicted strong-willed women.

Her first solo exhibition was held in Mexico City in 1956 and she continued to exhibit her art in the following years. The 10 last years were her more prolific years as a painter.

Remedios Varo died of a heart attack at age 54.

Varo is among the most important and influential Surrealist artists of the 20th century.

Her works are among the collections of Mexico's Modern Art Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Artículo

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