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BRIGHT & GAUDY
LAS POZAS was the creation of Edward James, a British aristocrat born in 1907. James was a patron and collector of the arts as well as a poet and a visionary. He collected the work of the Surrealists and was a great supporter of Salvador Dali, funding the “Dream of Venus” Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Eventually he moved from England to Los Angeles, and, finally in the late 1940s, to the village of Xilitla, Mexico, in the state of San Luis Potosí. Here he built a jungle paradise with the help of his friend and architectural collaborator, Plutarco Gastélum (1914-1991). Together they fabricated whimsical pavilions and enclosures on the side of a waterfall along the Huichihuayan River in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Using concrete and rebar, local craftsmen were able to fabricate symbolic shapes and organic designs that related to a private cosmology predicated on surrealistic influences. Many of the forms echoed the naturally occurring plants and trees of the area, and indeed the structures themselves appear to be an outgrowth of their own surroundings. Most of the structures would be considered “follies”, a particular English tradition of garden buildings never to be used for practical purposes but for amusement and surprise. Edward James died in 1984 in Italy leaving no funds for the garden’s maintenance. The Gastélum family maintained the site for over 30 years until recently when a foundation was formed for its restoration and upkeep.
Las Pozas: Steps & Falls
in collaboration with Anthony Thompson Shumate.
Produced by ARTpix & APPsauze.