THE ARTIST DINING ROOM: LEONORA CARRINGTON
FRIDAY 19TH JANUARY, 7PM - 10:30PM
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On Friday 19th January The Artist Dining Room at Guest Projects invites you to discover the fantastical imagination and diverse creative practice of the Surrealist artist and writer, Leonora Carrington.
For this special occasion, we will be joined by the author and mythographer Marina Warner, who will introduce the diners to differing aspects of Carrington’s extraordinary work. Leonora Carrington was inspired by a blend of cultural influences, including Celtic folklore and literature, Central American folk art, Renaissance painting, medieval and early modern alchemy, Jungian psychology and Tibetan mysticism, and her art and her writings often draw on mythological and esoteric traditions, magical beliefs and practices, obscure ritualistic acts and symbols of the occult in a spirit of metaphysical comedy. Hers is an ‘ironic sorcery’.
In honour of her distinctive style and remarkable individuality, the Guest Projects space will metamorphose into Carrington’s alchemical kitchen, where processes of distillation and transformation will conjure up a multi-course feast, curated and cooked by our guest chef for the occasion, Shay Ola. The diners will be led through the menu, each course expressing a retrospective encounter with Carrington’s surrealist practice, her magical modes of storytelling and, more personally, her life and times in Mexico City. The dining experience will also be accompanied with interactive elements, and a series of performative happenings throughout the evening.
Leonora Carrington (b. 6 April 1917 – d. 25 May 2011) was an English-born artist and writer who was a key figure of the Surrealist movement, working alongside other members such as Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. Carrington was born to a wealthy family in Lancashire, England; her father Harold was a textile tycoon, and her mother Maurie was the daughter of an Irish country doctor from Southern Ireland. Through her mother and grandmother Leonora discovered Celtic mythology and Irish folklore, images which were later embodied in her art. Carrington’s childhood home, Crookhey Hall – a gothic-revival pile, theatrical and gloomy – lies at the foundation of a multitude of psychological symbols for Carrington, and often stands for a place of entrapment and trauma. After a troubled childhood, and various unhappy changes of school, Leonora broke free from their restraints and expectations and at the age of 19 joined the Ozenfant Academy in London to study art. In 1937 Carrington was introduced to Max Ernst at a dinner party in London. The two quickly fell in love and left for Paris, where she immersed herself in Surrealist practices and furthered her writing. Their relationship came to a turbulent end when Ernst was arrested in the outbreak of World War II. Whilst suffering from her painful separation from Ernst, Carrington fled to Madrid to escape the Nazis. Shortly after her escape Carrington suffered a psychotic breakdown and was institutionalized in Madrid, until she was released and taken to Lisbon where she again escaped to seek refuge in the Mexican Embassy. In order to secure her escape and safe passage to New York she married out of convenience to a Mexican diplomat, Renato Leduc. The marriage was short lived and she soon left New York to settle in Mexico where she remained for the rest of her life. Mexico enchanted Carrington and it was here that her work began to expand and evolve. She was a prolific painter, who later also worked with sculpture and tapestries and throughout her life produced remarkable oeuvre of work. She also published a series of novels, short stories and plays. Carrington shared the Surrealists’ keen interest in the unconscious mind and dreamlike imagery, and often populated her artwork with alchemical materials and hybrid and other worldly figures. Her work touched on ideas of transformation and sexual identity, but avoided the typical Surrealist stereotype of objectifying women and using them as a source of inspiration, or rather as a “muse”. She instead drew on women’s self-perceptions and her own personal symbols. Carrington was an advocate for women’s rights and was a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s. In 2011, Carrington passed away at the age of 94 in Mexico City. 2017 marks her centenary.
Guest Host: Marina Warner www.marinawarner.com
Marina Warner is writer of fiction, cultural history and myths. Her critical and historical books and essays explore different figures in myth and fairy tale, such as the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc; more recently she has concentrated on fairy tales, including the Arabian Nights. Marina is also well-known for her novels and short stories that often draw on mythic or other imaginary predecessors to translate them into contemporary significance – to re-vision them.
Marina first met Leonora Carrington in New York during the 1980s at her basement home and studio, and soon wrote the introductions to two collections of Leonora Carrington’s stories, which included the memoir Down Below, about the psychotic episode she suffered, when she was confined in a mental institution in 1940. Marina has also contributed numerous essays and introductions for catalogues and articles on Leonora Carrington, and continues to be a passionate advocate of her work.
Marina was born in London in 1946, of an Italian mother and an English father who was a bookseller. After primary schools in Cairo and Brussels, she was educated in England at St Mary’s Convent, Ascot, and then read French and Italian as an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, of which she is now an Honorary Fellow. Marina has been a Distinguished Visiting professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, and taught in the US, France, and Italy. She has received honorary doctorates from several universities, including the Royal College of Art, and Oxford, and in 2005, was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and made CBE for services to literature in 2008, and DBE in 2015. She was awarded the Holberg Prize in 2015, and given a Lifetime World Fantasy Award in 2017. In March 2017, Marina was elected as the Royal Society of Literature’s 19th, and first female President.
Guest Chef: Shay Ola www.therebeldiningsociety.com
Shay Ola is a creative food and drink consultant, product developer and the founder of The Rebel Dining Society which for over the last eight years has established itself as a driving force in the conceptual dining and event scene.
The Rebel Dining Society has worked on a broad range of collaborative projects and events, and continues to work with brands and creative agencies across Europe and beyond to develop promotional, interactive and experiential marketing concepts, food and beverage products, innovative menus and pop-up events in London, Paris, Berlin and Lisbon. His desire is to push the boundaries of fine dining allows him to showcase new and exciting culinary ideas and immersive concepts that stimulate the senses and taste buds alike.
Shay is currently based in Lisbon and working on an exciting event and culinary development concept at the Lisbon Food Studio, which launched in summer 2017 in partnership with A SOCIEDADE. Lisbon Food Studio is an incubator for ideas, with a focus on sustainability where food, drinks, design, art and music intersect. The year round programming of events and workshops see creative collaborations between designers, artists and musicians with some of the most talented chefs and mixologists from Lisbon and beyond; with an aim to create thought provoking and informative products and experiences in an environment that isn’t just about consuming but sharing.
Shay is also behind the infamous Death By Burrito.
The Artist Dining Room is located at artist Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects space in East London. The Artist Dining Room collaborates with London-based chefs to hold a series of unique and bespoke artist-led supper clubs, offering an alternative dining experience where creative minds can engage and immerse themselves in the life and works of an artist through food. Previous supper clubs have been inspired by artists and art movements, including Louise Bourgeois, David Lynch, Kurt Schwitters, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Sophie Calle, Kara Walker, Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Derek Jarman.
Guest Projects is an initiative conceived by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE which offers the opportunity to practitioners, of any artistic discipline (dance, visual arts, music), to have access to a free project space. Alongside Regent’s Canal, Guest Projects provides an alternative universe and playground for artists. It is a laboratory of ideas and a testing ground for new thoughts and actions.