Tuesday, February 28, 2017

'I am an Amateur of Velocipedes' (1941)

The first Surrealist manifestation in China Miéville's new book, "The Last Days of New Paris".

"I am an Amateur of Velocipedes" by Leonora Carrington
"Like the antiquated title with which it is inscribed, the fine hatching of I am an Amateur of Velocipedes evokes the atmosphere of nineteenth-century novels and children’s stories, with engraved illustrations, admired by both Carrington and Ernst.

"The drawing shows two figures merged into a hybrid bicycle. The bare-breasted part-figure, at the front, is reminiscent of the Rolls-Royce car figurehead, The Spirit of Ecstasy, with the figure behind providing the wing-like robes.

"The form of this cloak, together with the lines around the oddly formed front wheel (which suggest bone or turned wood rather than spokes), suggest speed. The arm of the front figure also doubles as the bicycle handle-bars, as it merges with a feathery structure grasped by her blind-eyed companion. "
I think the quirky title is best understood in the old-fashioned sense of 'lover'.


Here's a picture of Leonora Carrington.

Leonora Carrington - Surrealist

I leave it to you to judge whether she casts herself as the prow of that bike. Here's her self-portrait (1937-8) .. with a female hyena .. .


And here's a short overview of her life and work: Britain's Lost Surrealist, 1917 - 2011.

And a video:


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