Frida Kahlo lived fewer than 50 years, but hers was an intensely examined life, and one that enthusiasts all over the world are still poring over. As a child in the suburbs of Mexico City, Kahlo, born in 1907, survived polio. As a teenager already enrolled in premedical studies, her body was brought forcefully to her attention again by a bus accident whose physical repercussions would shape the rest of her days, crucially inform her artwork and eventually kill her. Kahlo was already a painter when she married the political muralist Diego Rivera at 22, a volatile pairing that survived much unrest and one divorce and remarriage. She had her first solo exhibition in 1938, at New Yorkis Julien Levy Gallery, and saw some growth in her career before her death in 1954, but nothing like the steady, exponential increase of interest and respect that has continued since. Exhibits, books and reproductions abound, and 2002 saw the release of a high-profile feature film about her life starring Salma Hayek.
Frida by Frida, 2nd Expanded Editionby Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo, the writer? In this new expanded edition of the painter's writings, art critic Raquel Tibol gathers letters, poems, notes, protests, confessions, brief messages and longer texts written by Kahlo to her friends, her lovers and others. In her writings, Kahlo employs, in Tibol's words, an "unreserved, imaginative language, heart and intimacy laid bare," that reveals her taste for neologisms, colloquial turns and the crossing of linguistic boundaries. The freedom of her language is a path towards sincerity, the origin of Kahlo's pictorial universe, with its recurring motifs: the tramway accident that left the artist physically maimed at the age of 18; her anguished and demanding adolescent passion for Alejandro Gómez Arias; her complex and fascinating relationship with Diego Rivera; her illness as destiny; her political engagements; and her uncompromising quest for liberty. Here the reader will find Kahlo "swinging back and forth between sincerity and manipulation, self-complacency and self-flagellation, with her insatiable need for affection, her erotic upheavals, her touches of humor, setting no limits for herself, with a capacity for self-analysis and a deep humility." By gathering this material, until now scattered in archives and various published sources, Tibol offers us "a tacit autobiography and the placement of Frida within the intimate, confessional literature of the twentieth century in Mexico." This is a Frida Kahlo far removed from the distorted image so often found in films, plays and supposedly serious writings and studies--a beautiful book about Frida, by Frida.
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