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Surrealism and Feminism in Mid-Twentieth Century Mexico: Gender and Genre in the Work of Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and Frida Kahlo
Imported from ProQuest Danner_ilstu_0092N_11294.pdf
This thesis will examine the art, literature, and experiences of women who are identified as surrealist artists but whose work challenges that categorization. I suggest that the artists Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), and Remedios Varo (1908-1963), all of whom lived and created in post-revolutionary Mexico, were involved in the Surrealist Movement in varying ways through their romantic partners, but resisted taking on the identity of “surrealist”, which raises the question as to the reasons for their resistance. I will be examining The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self Portrait, the diary kept by Kahlo during the last ten years of her life, published in 1995, the novella Down Below, written by Leonora Carrington, published in 1988, and a sculpture entitled Homo Rodans by Remedios Varo created in 1959 as well as an accompanying fictional scientific treatise entitled De Homo Rodans, published in 1965. By analyzing both the literary and artistic elements combined in each of these works, given the ways in which surrealist ideology objectified and oppressed the feminine, I propose that these women crafted their own definition of Surrealism, one that held significant space for female expression and female artistic radicality, distinct from that of the canonical, male-dominated Surrealist Movement. I seek to define their Surrealism through their the ways in which they subvert the ideological and literal objectification of women at the core of canonical surrealist thought.