Balthus Van Tassel

The barge

There was a Surrealist, his name was Edward James, and instead of paintings, movies or urinals his surrealism took shape as a garden. The garden was, and still is, in the Mexican jungle. Traditionally when we think of making a garden we think of adding plants to a barren space. Mr James selectively cut back jungle and added in his surreal stuff. Some of the stuff was garishly kitsch; but it was ultimately enveloped up by the jungle. Some of it was exquisitely imagined fantasy follies; but it was also ultimately enveloped by the jungle. Mr Edward James must have been very rich and the Mexican gardeners, carpenters and bricklayers whom he employed must have been glad of the many years of income which his surreal garden project generated.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that Edward James should have saved his money, I hope one day to visit the gardens of Las Pozas, and yet, look at this garden afloat on a barge. It is simple, it is serene, and somehow it is absolutely surreal.

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