Surreal Spaces: The Life and Art of Leonora Carrington
Thames & Hudson, 2023
The British-born artist and writer Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) is one of the vanguards in the history of women artists and the history of Surrealism. The interests of this visionary—feminism, ecology, the arcane and the mystical, the interconnectedness of everything—are now shared by many. Challenging the conventions of her time, Carrington abandoned family, society, and England to embrace new experiences and forge a unique artistic style in Europe and the Americas. In this evocative illustrated biography, writer and journalist Joanna Moorhead traces her cousin’s footsteps, exploring the artist’s life, loves, friendships, and work.
Leading readers on a personal journey across Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United States, and Mexico, Surreal Spaces describes the places and experiences that would become etched in Carrington’s memory and be echoed, sometimes decades later, in her art and writing—whether her grandmother’s kitchen with its giant stove; a remote Cornish hideaway where she holidayed with Max Ernst, Lee Miller, and Man Ray; the Left Bank of Paris; an asylum in Santander, Spain; New York, where she lived among other European exiles; or Mexico City, her final sanctuary. “Houses are really bodies,” Carrington wrote in her novella The Hearing Trumpet. “We connect ourselves with walls, roofs and objects just as we hang on to our livers, skeletons, flesh and blood streams.”
Featuring photographs, drawings, and paintings of the spaces that so richly influenced Carrington’s work, Surreal Spaces is an intimate and vivid portrait of a fascinating artist.