Leonora Carrington and the Mexican Neo-Avantgarde in the 1960s


  • Célia Stara Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III


The objective of this essay is to study and highlight the exchanges, contributions and correspondences between Surrealism “displaced” in Mexico from the 1940s onwards and the Mexican avant-gardes of the second half of the 20th century. Indeed, against the commonly accepted idea of a strict isolation of surrealist artists in exile, many women artist—among them Leonora Carrington, Kati Horna, Alice Rahon, Remedios Varo or Bridget Tichenor—were fully integrated into the cultural circles of the time and played a predominant role in the development of an alternative cultural network to the official artistic channels dominated by the Escuela Mexicana de Pintura

These exchanges are reflected in the multidisciplinary participation in avant-garde events and the common desire of national and surrealist artists to create new spaces of expression outside the cultural institutions dominated by nationalist currents. Without being trapped in the shackles of artistic dogmatism, these artists managed to renew the surrealist spirit while actively participating in contemporary cultural events, from Mathias Goeritz's 1961 manifesto “(H)artista” through Salvador Elizondo's 1962 ephemeral magazine S.NOB, Alejandro Jodorowsky's panic theater, to the famous Generación de la Ruptura

Author Biography

Célia Stara, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III

Célia Stara is a PhD Student in Art History and Latin American Studies at the Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III (France). A former student of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS), she holds two M.A. degrees in Spanish Studies and Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture. Her doctoral research, "Surrealist influences and interrelationships in Mexican women’s artistic production. Une constellation de chercheuses (1940-1970)" seeks to replace surrealist women at the forefront of the European and Mexican avant-gardes as a complex network, or “constellation” of artists, originating a wide series of mutual exchanges and influences between Mexico, Europe and the United States. She recently co-organized the international colloquium “Foyers d'incendie. Héritages, mutations et dissidences du surréalisme, de 1940 à nos jours” held at the Université Paris-Est Créteil in 2022, and is co-editing the next issue of the journal CECIL, dedicated to Surrealism in Latin America (publication scheduled for 2024).