Home Art Leonora Carrington’s Little-Identified Explorations of Jewish Mysticism

Leonora Carrington’s Little-Identified Explorations of Jewish Mysticism


Leonora Carrington, “Janan” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100 (all photos courtesy Mixografia)

In 1974, Leonora Carrington created 11 lithographs depicting her costume designs for a theatrical manufacturing of S. Ansky’s play The Dybbuk. This suite of prints types the core of the exhibition Leonora Carrington: El Mundo Mágico now on view at Mixografia in Los Angeles together with a number of different prints showcasing Carrington’s enigmatic type of Surrealism, which blends numerous visible and mythological strands from her European background with these of her adopted dwelling of Mexico.

Leonora Carrington, “Leye y Frade” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100

The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds, the best-known work of S. Ansky, pen title of Belarus-born Jewish author Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport, made its debut in a 1920 Yiddish-language efficiency in Warsaw and has been tailored a number of occasions during the last century, together with for a 1937 Polish movie. The play relies on the mythological Dybbuk, a spirit that should wander till it finds a human physique to inhabit, whose origins date again to Sixteenth-century Jap European Jewish folklore. Ansky’s play tells the tragic story of Chanan, a follower of mystical Kabbalah, who’s saved from his real love Leah by her rich father Sender, who forbids her to see the poor Yeshiva pupil. Upon studying that she is betrothed to a different man, Chanan dies from grief, however returns as a Dybbuk and possesses Leah on her wedding ceremony day. The Dybbuk is exorcized from Leah’s physique, who then professes her love for Chanan and joins him in dying. Carrington’s designs had been meant for a stage manufacturing of The Dybbuk in New York, and though a number of variations of the play occurred there within the early ’70s, none of them have Carrington’s title hooked up, so it’s attainable that they had been by no means used.

Carrington’s costume designs incorporate the sense of otherworldly enchantment she is thought for and the normal clothes of the shtetl, the villages the place Jap European Jews had been allowed to reside within the Pale of Settlement.

Leonora Carrington, “Leye Returns Remodeled Into the Dybuk” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100

“She’s bringing it to a spot that offers considerably with mysticism, a Surrealist contact, the place the characters could also be extra magical,” Shaye Remba, director of Mixografia, informed Hyperallergic. Positioned in Los Angeles because the mid-Nineteen Eighties, Mixografia is a print home that was based by Remba’s mother and father in Mexico Metropolis as Taller de Gráfica Mexicana, the place Carrington created these prints. The present is on view via September 2.

“Leye Returns Remodeled into the Dybbuk” depicts a towering monster in a diaphanous shroud, her head resembling a pre-Columbian carving. “The Messenger” is a spectral determine with a flaming head who bears a slight similarity to the Catholic Saint Judas Tadeo. Carrington’s portrait of “Janan” (Chanan) consists of a disembodied head with a protracted beard, recalling the Shroud of Turin. Superimposed onto his face are the sefirot, the ten divine emanations central to Kabbalist thought. 

Leonora Carrington, “The Messenger” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100

Remba notes that Carrington’s work with the Taller marked a turning level for the workshop, which received its begin working with artists related to Mexican Muralism similar to Pablo O’Higgins and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

“Working with Leonora was branching into one other realm,” Remba mentioned, nothing that Carrington was the primary artist outdoors of the politically targeted Muralists whose prints the Taller would produce, paving a extra experimental path for the workshop.

Leonora Carrington: El Mundo Mágico at Mixografia

For Carrington, Remba posits that the tragic story of The Dybbuk might have had a private resonance given her historical past of affection and loss. Born right into a well-off British household, Carrington started a relationship with Max Ernst when she was a younger artist, reduce quick by World Conflict II. Whereas dwelling in France, Ernst was arrested by the Gestapo, escaped, and fled to New York, leaving a devastated Carrington behind. She was institutionalized and given shock remedy earlier than making her approach to Mexico, the place she ultimately married photographer Emerico “Chiki” Weisz, a Hungarian Jewish refugee. (Remba’s Jewish grandparents themselves moved to Mexico from Lithuania and Poland within the Twenties, fleeing a earlier wave of persecution and uncertainty.)

Carrington is beloved in Mexico, and whereas she is well-known by artwork professionals and employees in america, she isn’t fairly a family title. This yr’s Venice Biennale, The Milk of Desires, takes its title from a e-book by Carrington, framing her as a foundational determine for subsequent generations of artists who’ve been influenced by her transformational surrealism. Given her renewed profile on the worldwide artwork stage, El Mundo Mágico affords insights into a comparatively unexplored half of her oeuvre.

Leonora Carrington, “The Rabbi” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100
Leonora Carrington, “Reb Meyer and Sender” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 19 1/2 x 26 inches, version of 100
Leonora Carrington, “Reb Nachman” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100
Leonora Carrington, “Menashe y Rabi Mendel” (1974), lithograph on Arches paper, 26 x 19 1/2 inches, version of 100


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