Las Pozas

Well, Las Pozas Surrealist Sculpture Garden in Xilitla, Mexico is now in my top 3 places I hope to visit. You know you’re obsessed when you’re up at 1AM doing searches on how to drive 7 hours from Mexico City up into a subtropical rainforest in the mountains. The lush surrealist’s garden with 36 sculptures, canals, pools, arches, rooms and stairs to nowhere were designed by eccentric British millionaire poet and patron of the arts, Edward James.

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I’ve become a bit fascinated by Mr. James as well. I mean, I have fantasies of gallivanting around the world because I’m an heir to obscene wealth and needn’t concern myself with mundane things like paying the mortgage and how to budget for a vacation or the two dental crowns I need. It might be easy for some to write him off as a spoiled bon vivant, but I can’t help feeling incredibly grateful for his contributions to the arts. It really is remarkable and the impact he had on so many lives is inspiring.

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Edward James really had an immeasurable affect on the Surrealist art movement–which is very near and dear to my heart. He spent millions and millions of dollars on artwork and even on fully supporting artists, like Salvador Dalí, financially for years while they painted, and René Magritte who he gave a place to live and work. I feel indebted to him for supporting and investing in the Surrealist movement and the careers of some of my favorite artists–without that kind of time to create and a demand for their work, some of them may have remained in obscurity.

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His art collection also included works by Hieronymus Bosch, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Klee, Leonora Carrington, Pavel Tchelitchew, Pablo Picasso, Giacometti, Max Ernst and Paul Delvaux and a lot of others.

His love for artistic expression also made him keen on creative education. While still very much alive, Edward James gave his English family home and estate, West Dean, to a charitable educational trust instead of keeping it as his residence. The estate is now West Dean College which teaches artists and craftspeople and employs many more faculty and even many farmers on the 6,350 acres.

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Then there’s Las Pozas–Edward James’ own personal magnificent surrealist creation. A magical Garden of Eden. Starting in 1949, Mr. James designed and commissioned local builders, sculptors, tradesmen and craftspeople to help build his dream over the next 35 years. It’s beautiful how the elements and terrain have been claiming Las Pozas as their own. Vines, brambles, moss and earth are taking over the sculptures and making it even more breathtaking.

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I think this excerpt from one of Mr. James’ poems really rings true about his life’s work:

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.

Edward James

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PENTAX Image

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SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

 

PHOTO CREDITS: 1 & 2. Erik B. 3. I Amici 4. & 5. kwbill 6. & 7. Lucy Nieto 8. chicodel86 9. Christian Von Wissel 11–16. Rachel Adams for Purple Fashion Magazine 17. Bernardo Bolaños

Comments
15 Responses to “Las Pozas”
  1. Lauren says:

    You’re not the only one who’s up in the middle of the night obsessing over things, I am guilty of that often! I love these photos, so inspiring to visit other countries and cities.

  2. anoushka says:

    looks exquisite! really inspiring!

  3. kiss.mequick says:

    what an ugly ass garden (never seen anything so damn beautiful in my life, can I get a tent and just move in?)

    xxx
    kissmequick

  4. Sadie says:

    My mind is blown. This is added to the life list, for sure. Thanks for sleuthing this wonder in the middle of the night!

  5. Jade Sheldon says:

    OH yes, this magical place has been on my list too… Can’t wait to photograph it…

  6. WHAT. Unbelievably beautifully incredible! I’m moving in.

  7. Camille says:

    I couldn’t stop thinking about these images, only to stumble upon these: http://www.wmagazine.com/celebrities/2013/05/tilda-swinton-tim-walker-las-pozas-cover-story-ss#slide=1
    Have you seen them? Only Tilda Swinton can make Las Pozas better, ha!

  8. Kate says:

    I wonderful post. I’m an a student at West Dean College, studying for a Master of Fine Art. I feel very grateful to Edward James for setting up this college in the most amazing house and grounds, it really is the most affecting landscape. I walk past works by Dali, Magritte, Pavel Tchelitchew everyday. You can stay here even if your not a student now.

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