Thursday, September 18, 2014

The second golden rule: be very careful what you dwell on

I have written here about the possible link between Charlotte Brontë’s youthful obsession with Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, and her eventual marriage to a dark man called Arthur. I have also mentioned the possible connection I noticed between Mr Rochester’s fall from his horse in Jane Eyre and Charlotte’s fall the first time she ever got up on a horse.

An incident in the life of the Spanish Surrealist artist Remedios Varo, whose strange and wonderful pictures deserve to be more widely known, provides another example of such possible connections. I found it in Unexpected Journeys, The Art and Life of Remedios Varo by Janet A. Kaplan.

It happened in Paris in 1938, when she was with a group of other members of the inner circle of Surrealists. They had been drinking, when one man, Esteban Francés, made a remark criticising her personal life. An artist called Oscar Dominguez rose to defend Varo’s honour. An ugly fight broke out; people tried to separate the two men but Dominguez managed to free one arm and hurl a glass at Francés. Unfortunately, it completely missed and hit someone else, an artist called Victor Brauner. It tore one of his eyes out.

The strange coincidence here is that Brauner had painted many one-eyed creatures earlier, including a self-portrait of himself with one eye missing in 1931.  Another picture, painted in 1932, shows a man with his eye being punctured by a shaft with the letter D attached to it.

Did Brauner have a premonition that this loss would happen? Did he subconsciously will it to happen? Could it be yet another example of something manifesting in the life of a creative person just because he had been dwelling on it? Did he get caught in his own psychic trap?