Apr 24, 2012

28th April 2012; Documentary on Art : The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo

Contemplate and Konangal
Documentary on Art   

 The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
A documentary film by Amy Stechler
Runtime : 90 minutes
28th April 2010; 5.30pm
Contemplate Art Galley

An understanding of Frida Kahlo, the person as well as the paintings, requires a setting aside of conventional thoughts  and dates, as the case may be. At the same time, paradoxically enough, it requires the context of history. She was a revolutionary artist born amidst political chaos in her homeland; born in the year of its own bloody rebirth, give or take a couple years. That image, according to the artist, is more truthful than fact itself. It would be quibbling to disagree.
No matter whether she was in Paris, New York or Coyoacn, she clothed herself elaborately in the Tehuana costumes of Indian maidens. As much as Frida's country defined her, so, too, did her husband, the celebrated muralist, Diego Rivera. If Mexico was her parent, then Rivera  20 years her senior  was her "big-child." She often referred to him as her baby. She met him while still a schoolgirl and later, in 1929, became the third wife of a man who gaily accepted the diagnosis of his doctor that he was "unfit for monogamy."
Although Frida's work, often fantastic and sometimes gory, has been described as surrealism, she once wrote that she never knew she was a surrealist "until Andr Breton came to Mexico and told me I was one." ("The art of Frida Kahlo is a ribbon about a bomb," Breton wrote, admiringly.) However, Frida eschewed labels. Diego argued that Frida was a realist. Her principal biographer, Hayden Herrera, seems to agree, writing that even in her most enigmatic and complex painting, "What the Water Gave Me," Frida is "down to earth," having depicted "real images in the most literal, straightforward way."
Like much of Mexican art, Frida's paintings "interweave fact and fantasy as if the two were inseparable and equally real," Herrera adds."Really I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself," Frida once wrote."
When Frida Kahlo died at the age of 47 on July 13, 1954, she left paintings, each of which corresponds to her evolving persona, as well as a collection of effusive letters to lovers and friends, and colorfully candid journal entries.

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