At the Modernist Studies Association Conference in Toronto, Assistant Professor Jesús Costantino was invited to participate in a seminar titled “Late Surrealisms.” Organized by Professors Christopher Bush of Northwestern University and Sarah Wells of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the seminar asked presenters to think through literary and artistic reverberations of Surrealism beyond Europe and the United States after the movement’s heyday.
Ana Mendieta, Untitled: Silueta Series, Mexico, 1976. Photograph © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
For the seminar, Dr. Costantino traced the surprising correspondences between Surrealism and contemporary artistic responses to forced disappearance in Latin America, for example, in the poetry and landscape art of Chilean poet Raúl Zurita and in the photography of Cuban artist Ana Mendieta. Derived from research he is conducting for his second book project, Under the Sign of Disaster Triumphant, Dr. Costantino argued that artists find in the methods of Surrealism a model for how to represent the significant absences—of bodies, of justice, of data, and of proper mourning—that define the experience of forced disappearance.
Raúl Zurita, Ni pena ni miedo, 1993.
Photograph © Raúl Zurita