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Synopsis

According to Rafael Heliodoro Valle, the distinguishing feature of the Surrealist movement is that it has “old roots” that set it apart from the rest of the avant-garde. And that, “Mexico, [which] is not a myth,” but has a mythical past has kept it alive by the traditions of the people. In that sense it fulfills the French Avant-garde’s dream project and its goals of freedom. André Breton mentions Mexico’s foreign and local politics (in a clear reference to the right of asylum that allowed Leon Trotsky to live there), and identifies another fundamental value: “black humor.” These all entitle the country to a special place in the Surrealist world. As regards the local art milieu, the French poet compliments Frida Kahlo, by saying: “no other painting is better situated in time and space than the work of Frieda de Rivera” [sic]. 

Annotations

This exchange between writers is of fundamental importance. During this conversation André Breton (1896–1966) described Mexico as "the Surrealist environment par excellence." His words have become clichéd, but his meaning was clear when he said, "I see Surrealist Mexico in its land, in its flora, in the dynamic blend of its races, and in its loftiest goals." When asked to be more precise, Breton cited the extraordinary work done by artisans, whether on a small scale or on the scale of Diego Rivera, an artist who "holds the materialist key to events." In the latter statement, Breton is in agreement with Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1879–1940) concerning the Mexican muralist.

Rafael Heliodoro Valle was a Honduran writer who lived in Mexico. He was a journalist as well as a university teacher, hence the fact that the interview is transparent but brimming with information and ideas.

Researcher
Francisco Reyes Palma : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional