Surrealist Xanadu

by • 19/12/2013 • Blog, Les ImponderablesComments (0)1041

Xilitla. Edward James with parrot

An English aristocrat in exile in the Mexican jungle.

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After the end of the Second World War, Edward James, an eccentric English aristocrat, poet, artist and patron of the Surrealist Movement set out to search for a surreal location to express his diverse esoteric interests.

Xilitla

Photo: Luis Feliz © 1978 (www.xilitla.org) 

This led him to abandon the intellectual, social, artistic and rigid aristocratic circles of England to settle down in the subtropical rainforest in the mountains of Xilitla, Mexico. Soon after arriving he acquired a coffee plantation known as Las Pozas and the following ten years he dedicated himself  to planting orchids and creating  a home for his animals. It was not until 1962 that he started building an extraordinary sculpture garden as an unexpected frost destroyed his orchids.

 

Xilitla 1

Photo: Christian von Wissel

Over a 20-year period more than 36 surrealistic structures were built in concrete and spread out over more than 20 acres of lush tropical jungle.

 

Xilitla 2

Photo: www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/archive/owen_slideshow_082005#slide=1

The design was inspired both by his orchids and the vegetation of the Huastecan jungle combined with architectural elements taken from the Surrealist movement.

Although Edward wrote poetry all his life, his true labour of love and final masterpiece came to manifest through the construction of Las Pozas.

A video that gives a beautiful impression of Las Pozas:

As an extra bonus, a link to an hour long documentary about Edward James’ Secret Life can be found on the Imponderabilista Facebook page.

featured image found on: www.telegraph.co.uk

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