Remedios Varo at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico

Grace Piney

A crucial representative of Mexican surrealism, Remedios Varo is a fundamental asset to the MAM collection.

The Museum of Modern Art (MAM) in México City promotes its national artistic patrimony through one of the most complete collections of Mexican art of the 20th century, including paintings, sculptures, photography, drawings and engravings. Remedios Varo (Spain, 1908-1963, Mexico), a critical exponent of surrealism, is one of the artists with greater relevance in the museum’s collection. Like so many European artists and intellectuals, she was exiled in Mexico during World War II. She soon adopted the land of the Aztecs as her own.                           REMEDIOS VARO.In 2002, MAM received a donation of 38 pieces from the collection of Elizabeth Gruen Varsoviano, featuring pieces created by Varo during the 1950s, considered the most representative of the artist’s oeuvre.

The museum rotates its permanent collection to present the artworks within different contexts, following the recommendations of different curators. Remedios Varo’s work has been included in more than a dozen collective and solo exhibitions.

We would like to highlight some of these exhibits and invite our readers to visit the museum’s website to find a more detailed explanation of the significance of each of them. They will be privy to the process of how the same piece is reinterpreted depending on the criteria used by the corresponding curators.

                           REMEDIOS VARO. 1. Woman leaving the psychoanalyst. / 2. Re-encounter. / 3. The Flutist.

Architecture of delirium (2008-2009), curated by Iñaki Herranz, shows “the presence of an architecture that could only be defined as fantastic”; the exhibit Remedios Varo and Literature (2009-2010), curated by the poet Alberto Blanco, revolves “around the artist’s literary passions and the bibliographic sources that inform her work”.

Remedios Varo: Five Keys, curated by Teresa Arcq, was organized on the occasion of the centenary of Varo‘s birth. “The exhibit is divided into five thematic nuclei, or five keys: a surrealist key, a literary key, a mystical key, an architectural key, and finally a key dedicated to her relationship with dreams.”

Among the collective exhibitions that have featured her work, a special mention should go to Remedios Varo and her Contemporaries, exhibited between 2001 and 2002, under the curatorship of Daniel Garza Usabiaga. It included works by Leonora Carrington, Kati Horna, María Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline Lamba, Alice Rahon and Bridget Tichenor. The work of Remedios Varo shows a clear interest in ancient cultures and in the place of women in the contemporary society of her time.

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