Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Down Below to Madness

Ever since I read her collection of short stories published through The Dorothy Project, I have been in love with Leonora Carrington. Her madness, her surreal visions - all of it. However, I returned to the book that got me interested in her from the beginning - Down Below, as printed through NYRB. It is here in which Carrington tells of her decent into madness after her lover, Max Ernst, was arrested by the Nazis in Provence. She traveled to Spain to escape the Nazis yet ended up in an institution. This slim yet powerful book made me shake my head several times as Carrington tells her audience of her "attempts" to Down Below in order to escape the doctor and his staff and their cruel ways. Although she finally was able to leave, I wondered if perhaps this experience changed her in some form. In describing her madness and coming out of it, was she exposed to something more than the rest of us? Whenever I viewed her paintings, I wondered if they were the result of her madness that transformed into a "better" view of her world. Her words seem so calm in describing her decent - almost like an artist describing his "masterpiece" to the world and knowing that perhaps, the world won't understand it.


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