Thursday, March 1, 2012

Frida Kahlo

Self-portrait sketch

Fresh faced and unaware of the art world, my art teacher in middle school opened up my eyes to an artist whom I continue to grasp inspiration from.  Frida Kahlo was a Mexican firebomb, she was a very confident, a  self described bitch. She had the determination of a pit-bull despite her grim circumstances. As a young child she contracted polio, a crippling disease that left her right leg permanently small.
The Two Fridas
Her art career began when her life nearly ended, when she was involved in a horrific car accident at the age of 18. She was a medical student at the time, but due to her numerous broken bones, including a shattered pelvis and spine, she was bed ridden for months with a full body cast that only left the top half of her body free. After many weeks of boredom and dwindling hope, her parents gave her an easel, paints and paintbrushes, after she had already artistically engulfed the parts of her cast that she could reach. Due to the fact that her mobility was limited to lying on her back, she was mostly able to paint what she could see, as well as using her thoughts, vivid imagination, life experiences and Mexican art as inspirations. With the assistance of a mirror, she proceeded to create endless self portraitures, her artwork has a quite naive and dream like appearance, which caused many art critiques to put her work under the surrealist movement, however it embodies much depth and in every way it is an autobiographical depiction of her life. She married famed mural artist Diego Rivera. She held her first art exhibition in 1953, despite that she was bed ridden at the time. She insisted that she was present, even though she was unable to walk or move due to crippling pain.
The Flying Bed

The majority of her work depicts pain, as if her pieces are diary entries of tumultuous parts of her life, often portraying sensitive subjects such as miscarriage. Her uterus was badly injured during the car accident, resulting in her multiple self-terminating pregnancies. She displayed great inner strength even though her outer body failed her, with her heart and her desires still burning. Contrary to the fact that she never had her own children, her legacy lives on through art lovers, and even feminists groups who draw upon her motherly inspiration. Her humble abode, in Mexico that she lived in with Diego for the majority of their marriage was made into a museum “casa asul” (Blue House) with the permission of Diego. Before her death she requested that her remains were burned;

Burn it…I don’t want to be buried. I have spent too much time lying down…Just burn it!”
The same fire that burned within her was manifested into reality and eventually consumed her physical form; the outer fire paid homage to the fire inside, without singeing her soul or the power and strength that it encapsulated forever.

What the Water Gave Me

  • Drakulić, Slavenka. Frida, ili o boli. Zagreb: Profil, 2007. 
  • Grimberg, Salomón, and Nickolas Muray. Nunca te olvidaré- de Frida Kahlo para Nickolas Muray:    fotografías y cartas inéditas. Mexico: Editorial RM, 2005. Print.
  • Kahlo, Frida, Elizabeth Carpenter, Hayden Herrera, and Victor Taylor. Frida Kahlo. Minneapolis:    Walker Art Center, 2007.
  • Kahlo, Frida. Frida Kahlo: 1907.2007. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes :, 2008. 

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