Frida Kahlo de Rivera was one of the representative painters of Surrealism.
I still have 2 painters – her (today) and Salvador Dali (Again)- to comment a bit in this “personal project” called SURREALISM STUDY.
Back to Frida.
She was a Mexican born in 7th of July 1907 and her work it’s a multitude of styles – from Magical Realism, Naive Art, Cubism to Surrealism and Social Realism.
Little story: she erased 3 years from her age – always claiming she was born in 1910. Reason? none known.
In almost all her work she made self-portraits. Vanity? EGO?
maybe both. maybe none. Maybe she considered herself the best model to be paint. Maybe none of the persons around couldn’t expressed and represent her “ways”.
First let’s see some of her works – known.
When I see her paintings I remember the start with selfies.
Ofc, I can’t compare her work with a camera VGA or Zeiss Lens and megapixel but I is the same “subject” and “area”.
She always have that mask-like stare and focus our attention at the objects that frame her gaze – animals (birds, mammalian), other side of her, organs or objects.
For instance, she is accompanied by a cat, monkey and the all-important thorn necklace with hummingbird. Maybe it is the symbolism of these objects that tell us more than the face itself – the freedom and playfulness that the hummingbird evokes is underpinned by the death it meets.
In the personal live Frida was married with the muralist painter Diego Rivera whom she considered “the big-baby” even if he was 20 years older than her -he was her teacher .
Between 1930-1934 she stayed in US with Diego. She didn’t enjoyed that stay: “The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.”
The 2 Frida have different hearts and different clothing. Why? IS not the same Frida? Maybe she is not herself how we want her to been seen? Yet Kahlo stands torn between two worlds, marking the dramatic intersection between the industrial capitalism of the US and earthy spirituality of her homeland. Maybe there is a Frida image from US and one in Mexico… Could it be possible to be seen under that gaze? turned to the viewer?
Kahlo juxtaposed Mexico’s pre-Hispanic roots with the US, where and its representative as being a land of industry. It appears that though she may physically be in the US she is loyal to Mexican roots.
Another subject in all the paintings with babies is actually Diego, in which SHE expressed her feelings – and after this she is vulnerable to the viewer.
As a conclusion to Frida’s works?
Kahlo’s self-portraits are not a Dorian Gray invitation to see the soul of the artist through her face.
She invites us to look not at her face, but at what lies beyond and around it -Kahlo’s animals, clothes, foliage, that are so strongly indicative of the artist, showing the emotional and the social connections that manifest themselves in her identity as a whole / unity.