Remedios Varo is a Spanish surrealist painter, one of the most successful of them. A daring woman, who gained a respectful reputation by creating magical alternative worlds.
In the first accompanying painting entitled “dolor”, we see a man dying by tens of arrows raining towards him. The source from which the arrows are sent away was not included in the painting. I think that this has a purpose. If the source were included, it would make a banal enemy figure that the standard mentality would be expecting. The dolor, the sore reality of the painting underlines that the blows are not coming from an enemy, but from a beloved one. The attacker that is left missing in Lacanian terms, strenghtens this assertion of ours.
What’s essential is the unhappiness… First, there was unhappiness. And it will always be so. Always hell, always meaninglessness, always punishment. But it’s still this defeat that will bring us up. Dignity through defeat. What’s more divine, more humane than the independence of a man who lost everything? All of our delays are because of resistance…
The second painting included was entitled as “dolor 2” by Varo. A destruction as much dramatic and melancholic as the first one was depicted in this painting. A woman with her hands tied up is standing backstabbed into a wall. Just like in the first painting, the attacker is not depicted and poetic inclination of the woman’s head, and the hair covering her face strenghten again the assertion of ours that the blow does not come from an enemy, but from a beloved one of her.
Make your attritions harmonious, but not right now, not before its time and not totally definite at any time.
While writing all of these, I’m thinking if another secondary reading on these two paintings is possible. Should one look at himself before looking for a perpetrator for every crime, for every misconduct? Or is it always the human who is the greatest perpetrator? Who can tie up the hands of a person better than that person herself? Who can shoot, annihilate a person better than that person? Isn’t it another murder not to believe in human?
Phoenix from the ashes
So was written on love;
Forbidden exit door on occasion of fire
So was written on sky;
You are wrong, you can’t go away from here
And so was written on night;
Nothing was written on the night.
After these twin paintings, you will ask “Ok, but where is the promise that you mentioned in the title?”. Because, the promise is the hope, it’s even the tight-lipped happiness, hidden in the corners. What kind of hope or promise does a woman who painted two people in the throes of death, introduce?
If art is the promise carried by a broken, and an incomplete happiness as Adorno stated, then the promise that was rendered latent in these two paintings is true love. The painter Varo as a person and woman, must have suffered from the things she experienced, the things she didn’t, her dreams and even coincidences, just like every mortal being. This background information easily rationalizes the artist’s portrayal of the backstabbed woman in “dolor 2”.
Then, what is the latent hope, promise that we keep on repeating inhere?
The promise is hidden in the fact that Varo, a painter-human-woman, i.e. suffering from pain-causing pain had also created the painting entitled “dolor 1”. Some would call this so nicely as “poetic justice”, and some call it as “empathy”, the most humane feeling… For, despite everything it’s necessary to believe in human. Varo created the painting“dolor 1”, as well. She added her blood into another one’s blood. She performed the courageous action, which is not to forget. Making amends with herself, looking at the world through the eyes of another too, comprehending the so-called magical experience as a revolutionary action despite everything, believing in human and above all; understanding…
Tout comprende, c’est tout pardoner…
Just like every true surrealist, Varo sees love as a paranormal, spiritual link, as well. She knows well the mercilessness of reality; the frailties, guilts, and destructive skills of the so-called “human” species. This is a state of purification that is delivered by pessimism and maybe ascetism.
She believes in human and his dreams, though not in another thing, carries the rebirth as a promise even in the most deadly painting, by killing the life, maybe the former I’s. That’s why she doesn’t avoid taking steps courageously, audaciously on the thorny roads of the enlightenment that can create two people in herself at the same time, as well as facing her pain.
The twin paintings of Varo is still whispering a hope, though broken and hidden, to the ears of anybody believing in human.