Art, Science and Exploration: Rereading the Work of Remedios Varo

Natalya Frances Lusty


This essay reconsiders Remedios Varo's work within the context of her lifelong fascination with science as well as the broader epistemological and metaphysical questions driving the intellectual innovations of the 20th century. Varo's commercial illustration and late painting explicitly draw on the new physics, the hidden world of microbiology, the speculations of metaphysics, the world of engineering and mechanical design, as well as the intricate labor of the domestic sciences and crafts, as a way to explore the relationship between science and art on the one hand, and the old and the new on the other. In moving beyond the familiar rhetoric ­ mystical, inspired, dream-like, esoteric ­ that often accompanies an appreciation of Varo's work, this essay explores her interest in a range of scientific themes and intellectual ideas which were central to the Surrealist movement's interdiscplinary engagement.

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