One can respect the artwork of Frida Kahlo whereas realizing nothing of the artwork of her onetime husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. However the expertise of sure of her work will be enormously enriched by some information of their relationship, the clearest instance being The Two Fridas, which Kahlo painted in 1939 after their divorce. The biggest of her quite a few self-portraits, it presents the artist as a set of doppelgängers set aside by their apparel: one wears a European gown, and the opposite a standard Mexican one. The ensuing tableau may, on one degree, mirror her twin heritage; it additionally, as Kahlo herself put it, exhibits “the Frida Diego beloved, and the one he didn’t.”
The Two Fridas is the topic of the video essay above from Nice Artwork Defined. “The darker-skinned Frida on the proper is the indigenous Mexican Frida that was adored by her husband,” explains its host, gallerist James Payne.
“The lighter-skinned Frida on the left is the European Frida that he rejected.” Presenting herself within the former vogue “despatched a transparent message of cultural identification, nationalism, and feminism” — nevertheless it additionally hid the “damaged physique” that resulted from a bus crash in her youth in addition to numerous different bodily problems later in life. This portrait, nonetheless, exposes the center of “Mexican Frida” with a purpose to present that it “stays intact, sustained by the small portrait of Diego” in her hand.
The guts of “European Frida,” nonetheless, is rendered as “disconnected from her beloved Diego,” and it “bleeds profusely onto her gown, a Victorian lace gown much like the one her mom wore.” The 2 Fridas are related by way of their uncovered hearts by a single artery, one related to the portrait of Rivera. Payne factors out the actual symbolic energy of a bleeding coronary heart, a “elementary image of Catholicism” that “may also be seen as symbolic of Aztec ritual sacrifice,” within the case of a culturally conflicted artist similar to Kahlo. On reflection, The Two Fridas additionally appears to specific the inevitability of Kahlo and Rivera’s remarriage, which might come the next 12 months. That they had “probably the most obsessive and tumultuous relationships in artwork historical past,” as Payne places it, however whereas each lived, they knew they couldn’t do with out one another.
Associated content material:
Frida Kahlo: The Lifetime of an Artist
A Transient Animated Introduction to the Life and Work of Frida Kahlo
The Intimacy of Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portraits: A Video Essay
Residence Films of Frida Kahlo (and a Facet Order of Romantic Entanglements)
Frida Kahlo: The Full Work Collects the Painter’s Total Physique of Work in a 600-Web page, Giant-Format Ebook
Uncover Frida Kahlo’s Wildly-Illustrated Diary: It Chronicled the Final 10 Years of Her Life, and Then Obtained Locked Away for Many years
Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embody the Substack publication Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by way of Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.