While the reputation of Remedios Varo the Surrealist painter is now well established, Remedios Varo the writer has yet to be fully discovered. Her writings, never published during her life let alone translated into English, offer the same qualities to be found in her visual work: an engagement with mysticism and magic, a breakdown of the border between the everyday and the marvelous, a love of mischief, and an ongoing meditation on the need for (and the trauma of) escape in all its forms.
This volume brings together the painter’s collected writings, and includes an unpublished interview, letters to friends and acquaintances (as well as to people unknown), dream accounts, notes for unrealized projects, a project for a theater piece, whimsical recipes for controlled dreaming, exercises in Surrealist automatic writing, as well as prose-poem commentaries on her paintings. It also includes her longest manuscript, the pseudoscientific On Homo rodans: an absurdist study of the wheeled predecessor to Homo sapiens (the skeleton of which Varo had built out of chicken bones). Written by the invented anthropologist Hälikcio von Fuhrängschmidt, Varo utilizes eccentric Latin and a tongue-in-cheek pompous discourse to explain the origins of the first umbrella and in what ways Myths are merely corrupted Myrtles.
Remedios Varo (1908–1963) was a Spanish-born painter who entered the Surrealist circle in Paris before the German occupation forced her into exile to Mexico at the end of 1941, where she would stay until the end of her life. Her dream-infused, allegorical work combines the elements of classical training, alchemical mysticism, and fairy-tale science.
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