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Leonora Carrington at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

September 17, 2022–January 15, 2023

The first significant Leonora Carrington show in Scandinavia debuts at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. One of the major figures in Surrealism was Leonora Carrington. She challenged social norms and power structures with a fantastical world full of humor, witchcraft, and energy, but she is still largely unrecognized in the history of art. Today, interest in Carrington is immense. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid.

Exhibition curator Sarah Fredholm who is in charge of the Leonora Carrington exhibition at ARKEN explains why the surreal artist resonates so much today:

“Leonora Carrington’s artistic vision of freedom and equality is more relevant than ever in times of global warming, natural disasters, and war. In response to the crises of our time, spirituality, the occult and the forces of nature are being increasingly cultivated, for instance through astrology, tarot cards and witchcraft. Carrington was also taken with witchcraft and sprituality, which is why she is relevant to audiences today,” says Fredholm. 

Daughter of an Irish mother and a textile mill owner father, British-Mexican artist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) grew raised in a rich family in the English countryside close to Lancaster. Carrington, however, disobeyed the rigid upbringing of her upper-class upbringing and was repeatedly ejected from Catholic boarding schools.

Carrington relocated to Paris when she was 20 to pursue a career as an artist. She joined the Surrealist inner group at this point and had a passionate relationship with Max Ernst. When World War II started, Carrington first moved to Mexico, where she eventually settled. Carrington developed a common image of witchcraft, drive, community, and independence with his Mexican artist partners.

“Carrington possessed incredible power and mystery. She remained unique, created her own version of Surrealism and did not allow herself to be restricted by either men or the surreal movement. This is really relevant today, when a lot of people feel under pressure on many fronts. As an artist, she challenges our way of seeing the world,” says Sarah Fredholm.

Marvelous stories of transformation

Carrington’s paintings transport you to mythical realms where magical beings are undergoing transformations, including strong female figures changing into horses as well as witches and elderly ladies who are expressing their vigor and defiance. Carrington was fascinated by alchemy and astrology, and she even designed her own deck of tarot cards. She used a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, sketching, tapestries, and writing, to express herself throughout the course of seven decades.

First major Carrington exhibition in Scandinavia

A Scandinavian audience will now be able to see Carrington’s whole body of work in a sizable retrospective exhibition thanks to the show at ARKEN. Notable works from private collections that have never been seen before, important pieces from England, the US, and Mexico, as well as photographs and letters, may all be found here.

From September 17, 2022, through January 15, 2023, ARKEN will host the Leonora Carrington exhibition. After that, the exhibition will be shown at Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid.

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Fundación MAPFRE.

ARKEN Museum of Modern Art
Skovvej 100
2635 Ishøj