Heather Waldroup Frida Kahlo was a female Mexican painter of mixed heritage, born on July 6, and lived 47 painful years before passing away on July 13, Within her short life, Frida was slightly crippled from polio, suffered from a serious streetcar accident that left her infertile, married famous muralist Diego Rivera, divorced, remarried Rivera, became a political activist and rose to fame through her oil paintings all before succumbing to her poor health. She was an intelligent female in a society that wanted women to be pretty, submissive wives and mothers. She struggled with cultural demands of her gender in a time when women were demanding a change in their role.
Even if you have never engaged with her work, never stopped in a gallery to peer at one of her small canvases, you will be familiar with her face - its slight monobrow and moustache, its smooth black hair and full mouth.
With the familiarity of her look comes also the fame of her personality and her story. Her most famous collector is Madonna; fashion designers claim her as their "muse"; the US postal service has put her on a stamp in order to show their "commitment to diversity"; Volvo has used her image in advertisements.
And the National Portrait Gallery is currently showing not her work, but photographs of Kahlo herself. But it is also surprising that she has been remade as this figure of charm and glamour, when a central aspect of what Kahlo offers people is, to put it simply, her pain. After a horrific traffic accident on a bus when she was a teenager - in her words: The emotional pain was of a different kind: But this torment is also one of the reasons for her appeal.
Even John Berger, a more dispassionate critic, has said: At one point in the film we see Kahlo discovering Rivera making love to her sister; with a slight fiddling of the real chronology, Kahlo immediately leaves him and chops off her hair.
This picture was recently shown in London in the Desire: It suggests that her work must be read in direct relation to life events, so that this picture depicts a moment of "retaliation" against her husband.
Kahlo explored the interior processes of her life, but to do so she had to form a visual language as complicated and ambiguous as any literary language. Even in this picture - one of her simplest - can you really put your finger so easily on the emotion it evokes? To be sure, there is something angry and forlorn in the work, but there is also, oddly, something rather humorous.
Look at her sly sideways gaze and the ironic addition of a song lyric at the top of the canvas. And there is something immensely confident about her cross-dressing, that open-legged pose in the square-shouldered suit.
Cross-dressing was something Kahlo did in her own life: This, then, is a portrait of a woman crossing boundaries perhaps not just in retaliation against her man, but because she enjoyed it for herself. And what do those scissors held at crotch level say to us: This sense of humour and also danger is part of what Kahlo put into her paintings.
If we want to read the art as the story of a woman, we have to be aware that we will never really know who that woman is.
She presented herself in many contradictory ways, and used her art not just to reveal her personality, but to construct a personality. A picture such as The Broken Column seems to give us her pain as almost no other; her body stuck with nails, the pale tears on her cheeks, the expression of terrible courage.
But we can see what a complicated language is being brought into being to transmit the emotion; the pain is expressed through a combination of realism, with the depiction of a steel corset that she had to wear, and surrealism, as her body is opened up to reveal a crumbling column instead of a spine.
Indeed, Mexican art including the devotional Christian paintings that she collected and the pagan, pre-colonial art that she also admired weaves reality and fantasy together in a way that can seem naive to western eyes, and she realised and remade its power.
But in an excellent essay in the catalogue for the Tate exhibition, the curator, Emma Dexter, observes: If you take one of her most effectively political pictures, Self-Portrait on the Border Between Mexico and the United States, you get the full force of those politics.
America is absolutely mechanistic, all machines and smokestacks, and the machines have electrical cords that extend underground.
On the Mexican side there are plants with roots that extend downwards, and a sun and a moon. Kahlo is here dressed in very formal western clothes, but the cigarette she holds, together with the Mexican flag, show her rebellious social attitude as well as her political commitment to her natural third-world land against the American inferno.
Her political effect, however, has been felt less in debates about indigenous traditions versus colonial power, and much more in a way she could never have predicted: Kahlo created her distinctively female visual language well before the feminist movement had formulated its theory that the personal was the political.
The power of her art then became vital for women - not just artists, but women of all sorts - who were struggling to explore the ways in which female experiences had been overlooked in our culture. A picture such as The Love Embrace of the Universe, in which Kahlo creates a kind of feminine cosmology, shows her wearing a red dress, holding a naked Diego Rivera and being held herself by an earth goddess in a dream landscape of fertility and sensuality.
In other pictures, she explores female physical experiences from birth to lactation in ways that still look startlingly honest and nakedly unashamed.Frida Kahlo Essay - Frida Kahlo was a half-mexican, half-hungarian painter of the 20th century born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón in Coyoacán, Mexico City on July 6, During her short lived life, she had many accomplishments.
She was a surrealist artist whos paintings reflected her thoughts and feelings. The Pain and Suffering of Frida Kahlo Introduction Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who appears in numerous unsmiling and sternly disturbing self-portraits, has recently acquired or maybe reacquired, a cult status. Frida’s life began and ended in Mexico City.
Frida was born on July 6, , however she gave her birthdate as July 7, Her intentions of this was because she wanted the year of her birth to coincide with the year of the outbreak of the Mexican revolution.
This way her life would begin with the birth of modern Mexico. At the age of 6, Frida was stricken with polio/5(1). Feel my pain. As an artist, Frida Kahlo drew obsessively on her own suffering and tragic life story - but the woman herself remains a mystery.
As an artist, Frida Kahlo drew obsessively on her own suffering and tragic life story - but the woman herself remains a mystery.
Frida Kahlo Essay - Frida Kahlo was a half-mexican, half-hungarian painter of the 20th century born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón in Coyoacán, Mexico City on July 6, During her short lived life, she had many accomplishments.
She was a surrealist artist whos paintings reflected her thoughts and feelings. Essay on Frida Kahlo: A Life In Pain Words | 5 Pages. Frida Kahlo: A Life in Pain “They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality,” said Frida Kahlo describing her art work (Frida Kahlo n.d.).
Kahlo was a Mexican artist from the midth century.