My Life With Juan Soriano (1920-2006)

My Life With Juan Soriano (1920-2006)

Mi vida con Juan Soriano

Marek Keller

Translated to English by Debra D. Andrist

A posthumous letter to my partner:

Everything began for us during long conversations and long strolls through the streets of Paris, when we left after supper at the house of the writer, Sergio Pitol, sometime around the beginning of the ‘70s. I found out right away that you painted and read. And you spoke to me about what you admired, the words—thoughts of Benedetto Croce, and about those of your friend, Maria Zambrano.

And I worked my way into your fascinating world via listening. I heard your conversations with Octavio Paz, who visited us so frequently. And those you kept up with Carlos Fuentes and his wife, Silvia Lemus, when we saw them at the Mexican Embassy in Paris. But we also got drunk, and not only on words, with Pedro Coronel, Pancho Corzas or Fernando Garcia Ponce. And I remember buying a French loaf without salt for the indescribable Lupe Marin (the first wife of Diego Rivera), your model of preference, who was always on a diet. Or preparing Polish dishes for the numerous friends who weren’t on a diet and they called you and showed up at our door to talk, to drink and to eat supper. Your friends accepted me from the first. And I must say that that inroad, binding me to your world, made me feel happy.

During that initial period of living together, you barely gotten out of a long depression caused by the events of ’68 in Tlatelolco. At the same time, you suffered through a serious crisis of insecurity in yourself as an artist. And, to top it off, after eight years of living in Italy, you had the sensation of overload; you wanted a radical change: of landscape, of attitude, and of the way to face Creation and Life.

We were foreigners together in Paris and so we had all the problems there were to have and to have at the time of wanting to rent a flat. We handled it as well as we could until, years later, when we made up for it and finally had an apartment, our house, on Saint-Martin Boulevard.

You worked in your studio tirelessly, as much as your body could stand.

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