We recently have been diving into the surrealist world and work of Edward James.
Eccentric, poet and traveller, British born Edward James (1907 – 1984) dedicated his life to the surrealist movement.
In the 1940’s he embarked on a journey to find wild orchids in the dense jungles of Mexico. His other reasoning was clear, that he; “wanted a Garden of Eden set up . . . and I saw that Mexico was far more romantic” and had “far more room than there is in crowded Southern California”. In Cuernavaca, he hired Plutarco Gastelum, then a young manager of a telegraph office, as a guide. With his help the two stumbled across Xilitla in November 1945. A deserted 80-acre coffee plantation in the depths of the Huastecan jungle.
We know it today as Los Pozas (“the pools”). A bewildering surrealist sculpture garden, playing host to over 36 concrete sculptures.
“I have seen such beauty as one man has seldom seen;
therefore will I be grateful to die in this little room,
surrounded by the forests, the great green gloom
of trees my only gloom – and the sound, the sound of green.
Here amid the warmth of the rain, what might have been
is resolved into the tenderness of a tall doom
who says: ‘You did your best, rest’ – and after you the bloom
of what you loved and planted still will whisper what you mean.
And the ghosts of the birds I loved, will attend me each a friend;
like them shall I have flown beyond the realm of words.
You, through the trees, shall hear them, long after the end
calling me beyond the river. For the cries of birds
continue, as – defended by the cortege of their wings –
my soul among strange silences yet sings.”
Edward was a true patron of the arts. The Construction of Las Pozas alone, cost more than $5 million. To pay for it, James sold his collection of Surrealist art at auction. It was this kind of dedication that Edward is known and respected for, a man who had a vision and the courage to pursue it.