The Vivian girls with the china | Paula Rego | 1984
Paula Rego is a Portuguese artist that, in her style, integrates influences from surrealism and expressionism. In her work, we may see similar motifs with anthropomorphized animals and animalized human figures. The artist gathers all these elements in strange compositions with bright colors. The inspiration for the series of the Vivian girls isn’t less bizarre…
Henry Darger was an outsider writer. He spent his life cleaning the toilets of the Hospital of Chicago, job that allowed him to use his spare time to write his only novel, “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm caused by the child slave rebellion”, a heavy work of 13 volumes and 15,000 pages with illustrations that was never published. The book tells the story of the 7 Vivian sisters, a gang of princesses of the Christian Nation of Angelinia, who rebel against the cruel Glandelian regime. The acute reader of the blog would guess that Darger was a little cuckoo; and would be right, as the writer suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
The Vivian girls with the china shows us a scene of Darger’s work, where we see the gang surrounded by china, bizarre creatures and anthropomorphized animals. The colors and the characters, at first glance, lead us to think in cartoons, but Rego builds a scene that, although it is not explicit, seems sinister and perverse. Just like a painting made by a psychopath.