Remedios Varo was a Spanish Surrealist artist especially famous for her paintings which have an allegorical nature and a narrative structure that resemble Renaissance art, particularly the work of Hieronymus Bosch. However not many people know about what is to me her more interesting work: De Homo Rodans.
De Homo Rodans
De Homo Rodans was created by Varo in 1959, during the time she was experiencing a growing success as a painter. It is a set formed by a little sculpture accompanied by a text which is considered as her first public text with commercial focus, for this reason the text and the sculpture are in private collections today.
The set was created by Varo as a joke, showing her position in the face of modernity dominated by rationality and her great capacity for ironic contemplation of this society. The sculpture was elaborated with poultry bones, especially chicken and turkey. The text was handwritten with 10 unnumbered letter-sized pages, written as a parody of a scientific study.
The irony used by Varo in the text is obvious through the authority quotes, neologisms and sometimes when she plays with the words. Especially because she wrote it from a rational and scientific perspective, assuming the personality of a scientist (Hälikcio von Fuhrängschmidt) who found a manuscript written in Latin (fake Latin, invented by her) which is a study on the lumbar bones of the anthropologist W. H. Strudless.
Here it is a little fragment of the “manuscript” written in “Latin”:
“… et de fragmentus oseus lumbaris non verbalem non pensarem, conditionæ humanitas Luciférica est. Et de pensarem ou parlarem lumbarismus pericoloso et cogitandum est…”
Varo was pleasantly surprised by the reception of this sculptural-literary project, which she had created with no other intention than to criticise the modern society, in fact she used to define it as her “small anthropology research” that was “jokingly written” as an imitation of an old manuscript.
With De Homo Rodans Varo kept creating works of art whose meaning were enriched by the complement of a written text. She also created several drawings with the same subject.
To write this article I mainly consulted the book listed below (some time ago I wrote a review about it that you can refer here), but it is in Spanish and still has no English translation.
- Mendoza Bolio, E. (2010). “A veces escribo como si trazase un boceto” – Los escritos de Remedios Varo.