Image selections from "The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz"
Agnieszka Taborska and Selena Kimball have made two unique books together. The idea for the first one, “The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz,” originated in 1997 when Selena was Agnieszka’s student in a class on French Surrealism. Inspired by it she produced a set of collages in the best tradition of Surrealist masters but with a clearly modern twist. After Selena graduated the same year, Agnieszka invited her to collaborate on a book with Agnieszka’s text and Selena’s collages. In the years that followed, they met every few months (in NYC or in Providence, usually in the Cable Car café) to exchange words and images. Agnieszka would read Selena the newest chapters and Selena would respond with collages. Sometimes, narrative would appear first in a collage to be further expanded in the text. Thus, words and images developed in response to each other.
“The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz” had five editions: in Agnieszka’s native Poland in 2004 and 2011; in the US in 2007 (Midmarch Arts Press); in France in 2007 (Les éditions Interférences) and in Mexico in 2014 (AUIEO). It has been adapted for the stage by the Parisian theater “Miettes de spectacles.”
Two distinguished specialists of Surrealism wrote about it:
Agnieszka Taborska’s book, with collages by Selena Kimball, proves the ongoing power of the surrealist imagination to alter our perceptions of reality. Though hitherto unrecorded, the magnificent interventions of the Spanish Carmelite Leonora de la Cruz -- somnolent, visionary, transgressive, magical -- will ensure her a place in the pantheon of surrealist women, real and mythic, who embody poet André Breton’s insistence that beauty “will be convulsive or it will not be.” A stunning addition to the literature of surrealism....
Whitney Chadwick, author of “Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement”
“The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz” is absolutely so many things all packed together that I don't know where to start. It is a prose poem in chapters, of haunting beauty, exactly the kind of writing Surrealism and we devotees of it most love. And the collages are something else: think Ernst and think past him. Truly one of the most amazing books I have ever had the privilege of dreaming through.
Mary Ann Caws, author of "Glorious Eccentrics: Modernist Women Painting and Writing"