Surreal Friends brings together for the first time the work of three women Surrealist artists, friends in exile in Mexico in the 1940s: British painter Leonora Carrington, Spanish painter Remedios Varo and Hungarian photographer Kati Horna.
Leonora Carrington fled to Mexico in the 1940s when her love affair with Max Ernst was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. In Mexico City she found herself liberated from her English upper-class background and from the expectations of the older male Surrealists of whose circle she had been a part in Paris and New York. She made new friendships - with Varo and Horna especially, but also with other refugees from war-torn Europe and with Mexican artists and writers including Frida Kahlo and Octavio Paz.
Remedios Varo arrived in Mexico City in 1941, having fled Nazi-occupied France with her lover, the French Surrealist poet Benjamin Péret. Until her early death in 1963 she produced a wealth of paintings inspired by the spirit and freedom of Mexico, in which magic, humour and illusion feature strongly.
Kati Horna was born in Hungary and moved to Paris to pursue a career as a photographer. With her partner José Horna she documented the Spanish Civil War, before moving with him to Mexico City in 1939. In Mexico she became a photojournalist for various newspapers and also took on more personal photography projects, much of this work suffused with a Surrealist thread.
For all three women, Mexico offered freedom to explore their art. Surreal Friends tells the fascinating story of their artistic friendship.