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‘Melusina after the scream’: Surrealism and the Hybrid Bodies of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo

2018-08-01, Plunkett, Tara

In his 1944 text, Arcane 17, the Surrealism-founder, André Breton advocated increased political power for women, and yet invoked the hybrid body of the femme-enfant, Melusina as the image through which to articulate his vision. This paper discusses the hybridisation of the female form in Surrealist images and texts by Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, to question the role of the female hybrid body within Surrealism. Deliberately transgressive, visceral depictions of beastly hybrids are contrasted with harmonious visions of metamorphosis, to show how the gendering of hybrid bodies as female relates to the artists’ esoteric and exoteric depictions of human subjectivity.