Minuto a Minuto







Por: Guiomar Cantú**




 Sketches of Centaur constellation were drawn in the firmament, influenced by Jupiter and fire, Cosmos baptized me Sagittarius. My mother had put herself in the hands of the Virgen de los Remedios. Her first daughter had died and I came out to be like a secret balsam. My father worked as a hydraulic engineer, circumstance that forced our family to move constantly, so we could be close to bridge and dam constructions  where he worked. During one of those journeys, on Winter, in a short visit to the city of Anglés, in Gerona, Spain, I was born on December the 16th , 1908, and registered under the name of María de los Remedios Varo Uranga.






Childhood gave me the opportunity to observe the architecture, engineering, the beginning and the end of a sculpture incrusted in the planet´s body. We went all over Spain, Africa and Europe. I was one of those rebels that do not submit to religious academies, where I learned very well the meaning of God and guiltiness in hell’s existence. But my real alchemy education was provided by the apparatuses of my father, the drawing board, the magnetic needle, the maps, and the design and drawing manuals. On those pages my fate was wedged. I heard the voice of instinct. Drawing was going to be the only thing that would keep me alive.






 When I reached the age of twenty two, I married Gerardo to flee from home. Life was a strong canvas where it’s easy to paint the paradise. Love is believed real, passion is a killing arrow and talent is totally unconscious. A bubble of sacred images that hadn’t been blown out by the violent collision of reality. I´d just concluded my stay in the Art Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Its scents were impregnated in my skin like millions of remembrances; they were visions of passion that is born from the depth of the legs. A heartbeat capable to burst my entrails.





I showed my paintings there for the first time. Having made the principal stroke in destiny’s canvas was the immense sensation of glory. Thousands of eyes drinking the brush-strokes of my veins. A not existing happiness. Hypereality with all of its chords, ecstasy with all its poetry. Suspended in the heart of the infinite, with the quiet feeling of emptying my ocean in between an orgasm.




My husband and I went to Paris, magic raised before me in a chant that I still carry on the edge of my lips. Surrealism was the wind that started to spin my shuttlecocks. Gerardo and I traveled, painted, peeped into all the art exhibitions and pretended to be interested in buying at the auctions. Our honeymoon lasted a comet, thirteen moons and almost two suns.




We returned to Spain. Settled in Barcelona, we installed an atelier. My life was exactly what I’d provoked and I don’t know in which moment something inside me just broke. Between the folds of the Gothic suburb and the Rambles, I met all the fury of the frozen embrace of loneliness. Constantly unsatisfied about everything I did. The irremediable pain of not having someone to rely on. Uncertainty. The precise calculus about soul earnings and losses.








Intimate desire of escaping, of flying, of dying. Of building a house that could take me on its wheels to other dimensions. To be, in the world which I used to belong since the beginning. To despoil myself from anything earthly and  contemplate the perpetual equilibrium in cosmos’ entrails. My pain was turning itself more dense, as I couldn´t decipher the exact moment I had mistaken. More than repentance, doubts monopolized me, confusion translated in suffering. Marriage hadn’t been what I´d dreamed of, decadence had entered violently as a lethal virus disintegrating everything.




Disappointment was my own lack of encounter. Then I met Esteban. We started sharing the painting studio, then the wine and bread; the nights, the bed; and without realizing it, we were already uprooting lives. Lovers in a lost Eden where not even God was witness. The muses, the oils, the canvases, clothes scattered all over the room, the goblets, the books with their closed mouths and the outlines of salty bodies in the early morning; the aphrodisiac moon, candles, turpentine and old coffee odor, the pencils tinged with colorful fingertips, clothes, the sexual steams and the disorder. Sentimental chaos was dragging us to a passion that was condemned.




At twenty-four I was already separated from Gerardo, from my virginity and from my first brush-strokes. My love for Esteban was already part of my veins. Our union was product of a madness outbreak. We´d loved each other in another time, with different names, but with the same strength of kisses. Our meeting was really a re-encounter. The urgency of finishing something without end. Of taking over a lost and patient business waiting to be definitely concluded. So it happened. We gave everything to each other, until it wasn’t enough anymore. Passion lasted what an eclipse endures.








My grief turned into labor. Once more I was being fertilized  by solitude. Day and night were dissolved in a wink. Images fluxed in the contemplation of mystery. My sawhorse easel filled with emptiness. My heaven darkened of birds and insects as supreme ghosts of desire. Frightened incarnation to fear they were. The virgin canvas was a home-coming lover without gestures yet, but that was longing for me. Which had seduced my flesh with breath of poison and shipwreck.




I used to paint naked, I drank. I rolled between insomnia bubbles facing upwards. Physic laws were dissolved allowing space for my new theories. Genetic Engineer of a race of  melancholic and profoundly powerful beings. Empress of a land that wouldn’t conceive more atrocities. Child´s nurse that fed mouths of everyone´s yearnings. My characters appeared so to paralyze the Falling. To force the spirit to Biological Multiplication. My bearing was incrusted in the canvas as a dry waterfall of silence.










Unexpected success acted as a momentary countervenom. My signature started to be appreciated. I met Benjamin. I didn´t want to trust. Without realizing it I was already possessed, trapped within his spider-web mouth. I’d never traveled in the wings of a poet. Nor my legs had been varnished with metaphors. In his kisses I sensed the taste of Poetry.




It was 1936, Civil War had just exploded. Lorca’s death devastated us. The creations started to stain powder and blood. Benjamin and I, as soon as we could, moved to Paris. He confronted me. He was my friend and my teacher. Lover in which I prayed thousands of secret formulae. Skin of a stage of deliriums. The source where tattoos and letters were born.




He guided me into Surrealism in the eyes of Breton, Ernst and Miró. We spent nights of madness where Manifestos and Philosophies emerged. Substances served as doors to other realities. The perception bloomed, sensibility was expanded and the body passed to be just an instrument of instinct. Textures and forms were invocated independent from the vacuity; colors, music, delirium and ideas.




On the canvas my signs were emptying, the echoes of my laws, the songs of my lost angels. I was going through spaces that were not accessible to fingers. Breathing was the heartbeat of all creatures. Sensualities emerging from the power of the universe. I didn´t stop until I got the painting-sight, using all senses, until I managed being color. Presences spoke me, inhabited me. I transcended the Image. I arrived to the spaces between the soul and the eyes, and I kept the answers, the visions, to recreate them for the rest of my awakenings.




Barefoot in front of the canvas during the dawns, between cats, wine and a mountain of cigarettes in each ashtray. The whirling spiral of my brain was being made slow outline, dreamlike, ethereal. Crystals inside my eyes were microscopes and sometimes telescopes. Every painting shot forth in every single spin turn of the kaleidoscope oriented towards stars, to the body’s galaxies, towards the presences. My paintings traveled to Amsterdam and Tokyo. I was illustrating The Surrealism Dictionary.








I was twenty nine. Nobody ever knew, the nightmare savagely encrusted in the middle of my forehead. Hitler’s troops entered to Paris. Benjamin had been already in jail for several months. I had not forgotten him.




Without knowing how, I had fallen in love with one of those creatures whose beauty overpasses human canons. We made love like angels gestated by the whip of fire. With lust in our mouths and hands speaking the blinds’ language. Passion oscillated between terror and desperation. Nature’s laws  drained at the limits of the body. Gallop of swans persecuted by War. Ecstasy of living water in the muscle and the kiss.   Flesh modeled by gods’ incense breath. Unique delirium in the volcanoes of encounter.




He took shelter at my place and Germans discovered him. I didn´t see him, but I heard how he was murdered. They took me to prison. I couldn’t understand the power of dismantling freedom. Hell. The dried yell when his body collapsed. His warm mist snowing my eyelashes. His hands still full of my desire. The soldiers possessed by the rage. Torture. Agony. Cold. Pain that is not enough so as to repeat it with words.




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