Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Frida Kahlo.

I met up with Pete, who some of you will know from the Ouch boards, for a trip to the Tate Modern. When I arrived Pete suggested we take a look at the Frida Kahlo exhibition that was entering it's final weekend.

Before the exhibition I knew very little about Kahlo's work. I knew she was Mexican and was disabled and a film was made about her starring Selma Hayak and that's about it.

Kahlos was born in Mexico in 1907 and contracted childhood polio. She didn't take up art until 1925 after she was in a very bad bus crash which broke her spine in 3 places and fractured her right leg, collarbone, ribs and pelvis. Consequently she was confined to bed for a long period. It was during her convalescence that she began to paint. A special easel was constructed which allowed her to paint lying down. She made her first self portrait (1926). By her death in 1954 she had produced around 200 images.

She returned to the self-portrait time and time again when asked why she said that she was 'the person I know best'. What I particularly liked about Kahlo's work was it's surrealist quality. looking at some of her paintings is quite unsettling. There are images of miscarriages, being force fed and murder amongst her work. She did always try and distance herself from the surrealist movement but to my mind (and I no nothing about art except to comment on whether I like a painting or not) she is undoubtedly a surrealist. Her most famous work is a painting called 'The Two Fridas' was painted for the 'International Exhibition of Surrealism' which was held in Mexico City in 1940 and her work was championed by leading Surrealists like Marcel Duchamp.

One interesting thing about Kahlo I discovered at the exhibition is that Leon Trotsky lived at her house when he fled to Mexico. It was to be his final home.

Unfortunately the Kahlo exhibition finishes tomorrow so unless you are very quick you're going to miss it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, there are some fantastic pictures on display and she was a fascinating character. Her impairment was depicted in her works, from earlier portraits and drawings of her lying in bed to middle period works like The Broken Column in which a Ionic column takes place of her damaged spine, it's a chilling picture as the flesh is ripped back to expose the 'spine', and finally in 1951 she painted Self Portrait with Portrait of Dr Farill, in which she is pictured in her wheelchair in front of her surgeon.

She is undoubtedly an important artist an well worth checking out.


Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

It is clear to Lady Bracknell that Pete is a most civilising influence on Young Master Marmite. What next? Shakespeare in the Park? Cosi fan Tutte? Gauloises cigarettes?

1:38 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me a civilising influence? He had to stop me nutting the ice-cream vendor in the Damian Hirst gallery, as he didn't put any rasperry sauce on me cosi fan tutti-frutti!

Cough, splutter, cough, Disque Bleu, Cough, splutter, cough, you mean.

Thanks for a great afternoon m, do you think they are missing the oak tree yet, I drunk it!

Salivating Dafti

2:17 pm

Blogger Katie said...

Blimey marmiteboy! I've visited the Frieda Kahlo exhibition too!!!!!

It's great isn't it! I loved looking around and looking at all the different paintings and I loved the way that Frieda had used alll her feelings about things and painted them in beautiful paintings!

You must have been psychic because I went on Saturday !st October to see it and you must have picked up the scent!

5:43 pm

Blogger The Goldfish said...

I love Frida Kahlo and 'Frida' is a fantastic film if you haven't see it - I had fairly low expectations, but they pulled it off very well indeed. A great Disabled Icon.

6:00 pm

Blogger marmiteboy said...


I have a small pamphlet that they gave out with the tickets.It hasn't got any of her artwork in it but it's quite interesting.I'll send it to you.


8:41 pm


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