Tea and Creatures with Leonora Carrington – Leonora Carrington茶与生物

Picture Piece - 01 Oct 2017

Tea and Creatures with Leonora Carrington

Chloe Aridjis recalls taking tea with the great Surrealist in her home in Mexico

By Chloe Aridjis

Over time, even the numbers 194 on her front door seemed to grow more creaturely, the first gatekeepers one encountered upon arrival, followed by Leonora Carrington herself, swathed in grey. Her home in Mexico City was a chessboard of Mexican sunlight and European shadow – much of the house was stone-chilly and austere, but then you’d step into a patch of sun or come face-to-face with one of her sculptures, an eruption of life emerging from the murk. After a brief greeting, she would lead you from the entrance to the kitchen. The kettle would already be on, an old metal thing rattling over the fire, while her two Siamese cats, Monsieur and Ramona, silently patrolled the premises.

I took some photographs of her one afternoon as we sat having tea, struck by the procession of instruments hanging behind where Leonora was seated. Their shadows – evoking claws, shovels, tridents, horned creatures – were imbued with a Fantasia sorcerer’s potential, and I half expected them to come alive and start marching around. I’m not certain Leonora herself was even aware of this optical effect, which so aptly mirrored the co-existence of the fantastical and the quotidian in her own work, and I don’t remember ever seeing such shadows again. 


Tea and Creatures with Leonora Carrington - Leonora Carrington茶与生物

Leonora Carrington in her home, 2011, photographed by Homero Aridjis. Courtesy: Chloe Aridjis

Looming out of the corners of her living room, one of the duskiest regions of the house, were Leonora’s oven sculptures: tall bronze witnesses to her daily life. Created from smaller models and then packed off to the foundry – in her words, ‘a great alchemical laboratory’ – they would return lengthened and transformed. Towering over everyone, the mask-like faces would stare out, radiating an enigmatic serenity, while down at each base a little door opened into a square compartment that could, ostensibly, be used as an oven, though I’m not sure anyone ever tried. Leonora called this sculpture ING (c.1994), as in cook-ing, paint-ing, see-ing: a sort of Golem figure, it represented the verb incarnate. In her world, everything might possess a soul; even grammar becomes an entity. When posing for this photograph, Leonora stood up straight and rested a hand on ING’s arm, her hint of a smile, gracious and reserved, mimicking the creature’s own. The framed cloudy window behind them gives the impression they have stepped out of a painting, emptying the canvas of its figures.


Tea and Creatures with Leonora Carrington - Leonora Carrington茶与生物

Leonora Carrington with ING, 1994, photographed by Chloe Aridjis. Courtesy: Chloe Aridjis

The final addition to Leonora’s menagerie was Yeti, a lively Maltese dog who accompanied her during the last three years of her life, after her cats and husband had passed away. The last photograph I have of her was taken by my father in March 2011, two months before she died. The dog exists in the present, its gaze fastened on the plate of biscuits on the table, while Leonora’s focus is on something beyond. Clutching her cigarette, she is aware of the camera yet doesn’t acknowledge its presence. Her expression is intense, indomitable. Behind her crouches an old stove – ING’s clunkier, once more functional, cousin – and, most importantly, the door to the kitchen: one of many charged thresholds in her home. 

Main image: Leonora Carrington’s kitchen, c.1998, photographed by Chloe Aridjis. Courtesy: Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Aridjis is a writer who lives in London, UK. Her third novel, Sea Monsters, will be published by Chatto & Windus in early 2018.

Leonora Carrington
Chloe Aridjis
Picture Piece

Issue 6

First published in Issue 6

October 2017

图片- 01 OCT 2017茶和生物与利奥诺拉卡林顿克洛伊阿里吉斯回忆茶与伟大的超现实主义者在她的家里在墨西哥随着时间的推移,甚至数字194 O。她的前门似乎越来越灵巧,第一个看门人在到达时遇到了,后面跟着Leonora Carrington自己,穿着灰色的衣服。她在墨西哥城的家是墨西哥阳光和欧洲阴影的棋盘——大部分的房子都是冰冷的石头,但是你会踏上一片阳光,或者与她的雕塑面对面地面对,从阴暗中出现生命的爆发。简短的问候之后,她会带你进入厨房的入口。水壶已经开了,一个旧金属的东西在炉火上嘎嘎作响,而她的两只暹罗猫Monsieur和雷蒙娜静静地巡视着房子。一天下午,当我们坐在那里喝茶的时候,我拍了一些她的照片,在Leonora就座后悬挂着一系列仪器。他们的影子——唤起爪子、铲子、三叉戟、有角的生物——充满了幻想狂魔术师的潜能,我半希望他们能活着并开始四处走动。我不确定Leonora自己是否意识到这种光学效应,这正好反映了她自己作品中的幻想和日常生活的共存,我不记得曾经见过这样的阴影。Leonora Carrington在她的家,2011岁,由阿默里奥阿里吉斯拍摄。彬彬有礼:Chloe Aridjis从客厅的角落隐约出现,这是房子最暗的区域之一,是Leonora的烤箱雕塑:她日常生活的高铜见证。从较小的模型创建,然后包装到铸造厂-在她的话,“一个伟大的炼金术实验室”-他们将返回加长和转化。高耸于每一个人之上,面具般的面孔会向外张望,发出一种神秘的宁静,而在每一个底部,一扇小门被打开成一个正方形的隔间,表面上可以用作烤箱,虽然我不确定是否有人尝试过。Leonora称这种雕塑(C.1994),如烹饪,绘画,看:一种傀儡图形,它代表了动词化身。在她的世界里,一切都可能拥有灵魂;甚至语法也成为一个实体。当为这张照片摆姿势时,Leonora挺直身子,把手放在伊恩的胳膊上,露出一丝微笑,亲切而矜持,模仿着他自己的样子。他们身后的一个被遮蔽的多云窗户给人的印象是他们已经走出了一幅画,清空了画布的画布。Web02A4508CYMKK.JPG WPA6022602IMG LeOnORa卡林顿与ING,1994,由克洛伊阿里吉斯拍摄。礼貌:克洛伊阿里吉斯是Leonora动物园的最后一员,Yeti是一只活泼的马耳他狗,在她生命的最后三年陪伴着她,在她的猫和丈夫去世后。她最后一张照片是我父亲在2011年3月去世前两个月拍的。狗存在于现在,凝视着桌子上的饼干盘子,而Leonora的注意力集中在一些东西上。她紧紧抓住香烟,意识到相机的存在,却不知道它的存在。她的表情是强烈的,不屈不挠的。在她身后蹲着一个古老的炉子--ing的笨拙,再一次发挥作用,表姐——最重要的是,厨房的门:她家里许多收费的门槛之一。主要形象:Leonora Carrington的厨房,C.1998,Chloe Aridjis拍摄。礼貌:克洛伊阿里吉斯克洛伊阿里吉斯克洛伊阿里吉斯是一位作家,居住在英国伦敦。她的第三部小说《海怪》将在2018年初由查多和温德斯出版。LooRa卡林顿Cule Aijjs图片超现实主义雕塑问题6首次出版于2017年10月6日


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