Xilatla, San Luis Potosí – Culture in the jungle

Las Pozas in Xilatla is a unique obliquity in the tropical jungle. Deceased Edward James, born into a very rich British Family, translated his life’s dream into action. He melted the huge exotic garden with an enormous number of art objects from concrete and metal. Edward James himself was a mediocre successful poet and artist but one of the biggest Maecenas at that time. Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte belonged to his closest circle of friends. Dalí said the eccentric is “crazier than all the Surrealists put together”.

This appears on his property as well, which James used first to grow orchids, then as a zoo, and finally to realize his architectural fantasies. With 150 local workers at times he worked for 30 years at this project that was never really completed. Countless art objects created by him, odd distorted buildings, waterfalls, pools, and brooks were integrated into a vast maze on a hill. Since we prefer to see the area (entrance fee 50 Peso pp) without a guide, and there are not area maps, just few hundreds of metres later we stand in front of a pond and we are not sure how to surmount the obstacle that’s deep and slippery.

Joerg decides to take off his shorts, to shorten his t-shirt and wade through the pond with the cameras above his head. I choose the way over the wet and slippery wall enclosure, a narrow path with water on one side and several metres nothing on the other. The Englishman really had a weird sense of humour. Henceforth Joerg walks completely surreal in a soaking wet slip through the art park, the shorts in his hand, I only have wet shoes. Edward James would have got sheer pleasure out of us. Fortunately we are the only visitors. Nowadays the park falls more and more into disrepair. The millionaire left it to the children of his Mexican employee and confidant since he didn’t have own descendants. His only marriage with a Hungarian ballet dancer ended in a scandalous divorce.

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