Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shroud in sloe bloom

There is a woman, appropriately undressed and swept in sheets, who wakes up in the morgue. Lunar-like blue-grey light suggests it is night and there is a window. Nobody knows how it happened, there was just this mess made, and the sheets left behind, and then she seems to have resumed her life in secrecy.

Far later, after trainrides and sloe bushes, but still asleep, I am struck by the possibility that this woman in the morgue was Leonora Carrington.


one of several legs

Sheila Legge, who was the "surrealist phantom" in a few photographs and live performances in 1936, remains the surrealist phantom in her elusiveness. Biographical data about her are very scarce, and when you are searching for them, you end up in more traces of others' similar and similarly futile quest than in any answers.

Sheila Legge was, according to her contemporaries, an important presence in the early English Surrealist Group in 1936. She was a good poet, she had a secret affair with René Magritte, she made her famous appearances as the surrealist phantom, and she disappeared. She came from Oxford to London, but her birthdate remains unknown just like all the details of her background and later life.

Among the false leads surrounding this absence of biographical information, a few Sheila Legges or Leggs have died in recent years (though all seem too young to be her). Sometimes there will involontarily gleam forth some perhaps surrealist humor even in her independent namesakes. The Glasgow Herald of 19/3 1988 reported that "Meningitis victim Mr Andrew Buck, 24, has been brought out of a deep coma by his neighbour's bark. Mrs Sheila Legg sat at Mr Buck's Bristol hospital bedside mimicking her two dogs as he lay unconscious for four days."



We'll be damned! Finally there is a book available about the surrealist movement, as not confined to a certain "heroic" period or a certain famous geographical distribution; but as truly internationalist and a lasting pole of regroupment, as it actually is! Is this the first time ever a comprehensive presentation of this is compiled before the eyes of the reading public?

728 pages of Miguel Perez Corrales Caleidoscopio surrealista is now available (La Página, Tenerife), and on the side of it Miguel is posting plentiful newsflashes and selected highlights of the past in his newly launched blog Surrealismo internacional.

(more detailed discussion forthcoming at the Icecrawler)