The French poet and founder of Surrealism, André Breton, after visiting Mexico in 1938, proclaimed it "the surrealist country par excellence." Surrealism, an artistic movement originating in post-WWI Europe, strongly impacted the art of Latin America, where the mestizo culture, the legacy of European conquer over indigenous peoples, embodies contradiction, a central value of Surrealism.
The widely-known Mexican painter Frida Kahlo painted self-portraits and depictions of traditional Mexican culture in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism. Although, Kahlo did not commend this label, once saying, "They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality." Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings and the second-highest for any female artist. Other female Mexican Surrealists include Leonora Carrington (a British woman who relocated to Mexico) and Remedios Varo (a Spanish exile). Mexican artist Alberto Gironella, Chilean artists Roberto Matta, Mario Carreño Morales, and Nemesio Antúnez, Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, and Argentinean artist Roberto Aizenberg have also been classified as Surrealists.
Read more about this topic: Latin American Art
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“Surrealism is not a school of poetry but a movement of liberation.... A way of rediscovering the language of innocence, a renewal of the primordial pact, poetry is the basic text, the foundation of the human order. Surrealism is revolutionary because it is a return to the beginning of all beginnings.”
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“Cubism had been an analysis of the object and an attempt to put it before us in its totality; both as analysis and as synthesis, it was a criticism of appearance. Surrealism transmuted the object, and suddenly a canvas became an apparition: a new figuration, a real transfiguration.”
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“Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.”
—Salvador Dali (19041989)