His young friend Juliana Gonzalez says Remedios seems «an ever awake resonant bug». She calls her wasp, bee … bee queen. Or «aveja» in spanish, mixture of sheep with bee.
(From the book «La cazadora de Astros», Zoé Valdés).
When our reader blog Carmen made a comment stating the relationship of Remedios Varo with bees, we could not believe that such an artist did not have a «cell» in Mieladictos. So get to work. Born in Anglés, province of Gerona, in 1908, had to leave their country by war. Spain was the country of birth and France, his artistic home, although she was mexican more than anything else.
First relationship bees- Remedios Varo: «The sore bee». It is a drawing by the artist in 1957, pencil on paper and a gift to her friend Juliana Gonzalez. We read in the book «Trampantojos», from Magnolia Rivera, that this work is a good example of the presence of the ellipse, which implies the idea of infinite time and space.
Second connection, in the oil «Towards the Tower» by Remedios Varo in 1960. It is part of a triptych that tells the evolutionary process of the human soul towards perfection. The girls leave their hive house to go to work. They are accompanied by birds which avoid women to escape. They look as if hypnotized. Bring their knitting needles in their hands. Only girl first resists hypnosis.
Magnolia Rivera, enriches us with your comments about this painting in the supplement the «Confabulario».
«From honey- castle go out the virgins to show the world what they have learned. Melissa -before nymphs, now adults- follow the nun and the guide with red beard. They leave the golden building to tell a story that will be no longer secret. The three works form a tapestry where bee-working souls insist on the overall progress of being. »
The school that Remedios portrayed in the triptych is the same as described in Maurice Maeterlinck «La vie des abeilles» (1901): «There, in the school of bees, we were to be taught the concerns of the omnipotent Nature, the luminous relationships of the three kingdoms, the inexhaustible organization of life … and what is as good as the work ethic. »
When in the late fifties Remedios paints his trilogy, comes the arrival of women to industrial work and seamstresses become skilled workers. These women who sew, embroider and knit, inhabit Varo boxes and they are the hymenoptera which are astounding to poet Neruda: «Bees, pure workers, pointed, perfect, thin, lightning, proletarian …» (Third Book of Odes).
And third meeting point of Remedios with the world of bees. In his book «Letters, dreams and other texts,» some writings that the artist made about some pictures that never painted, but could imagine. Reference to honey and death is made, and also a belief of Remedios according to which,bee insects would be the only survivors of the destruction of all species,
«An innocent life, no fear, no pain or guilt, the square meter around is completely safe, but … so many bees have moved and have been manufacturing honey more than three feet and reach over half of my body and I do not know what to do, stay buried in honey, adorable way to die. »
(From the notebooks of Gruen file)
Along with his anthropomorphic bees, his work is full of other animals: scorpions, centaurs, mosquitoes, fantastic beasts, deer, bird-men, bulls, woman-owl, owl, anthropomorphic bee, cat-fern, fish-bird, dogs, birds-umbrella, child-butterfly, roosters, rabbits, swans, cows, spiders, foxes, camels.
– Short Biography of Remedios Varo: born in Anglés, the province of Gerona (Spain) in 1908. His childhood was a time to invent, judge, testing, research and create with the help of his father. Deep inner life, and her stories had confirmed. As a child she felt the need to reflect the world around her. Student at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, shares concerns with the group Residencia de Estudiantes. In 1929 she went to Paris, returns to San Sebastian and marries Gerardo Lizarraga. Together they return to Paris to complete his training. Again, in Barcelona from 1932 to 1937. Remedios works well in the advertising world. With the poet Benjamin Perez establishes a relationship and returns to Paris, soaking the nascent Surrealist movement. 1941, emigrates to Mexico. Friend of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In 1952 she married Walter Gruen, a political refugee. With 55 years dies of a heart attack. Until the end of his life he could not live from painting, earning a living as an advertising illustrator. He died in Mexico in 1963. It is at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico where you can see much of his work. A few sentences can give us an idea about Remedios: «She was not a painter of what she saw, but what she dreamed,» and this one, «not worth living without art».
– Notes on the surrealist movement. One of the most important movements of the twentieth century, is an eminently literary expression, which comes with psychoanalytic theories of Freud. It is not a style of painting, neither a way of painting. What it expresses is not the real world, but the world of dreams and its realities. Sculpture, painting, poetry, film, theater, fashion … Miró, Dalí and Marc Chagall are good examples of Surrealist painters.