FRIDA KAHLO SHOWING AT MUDEC

A GREAT RETROSPECTIVE OF THE MEXICAN PAINTER

2018-02-12

'Alejandro: I am very sorry for what happened to you and I give you my deepest condolences, right from the bottom of my heart. The only advise I could give you, as a friend, is to have enough willpower to fight the pain, that God, our Lord sends us, because we come to the world to suffer. I felt this pain in my soul and I ask God to give you the grace and strength necessary to let yourself go'. Mexico City, December 15, 1922.

Frida was fifteen when she wrote this letter. How many girls at fifteen years old have this clarity about the problems in life and this depth of thoughts? How many people could at this young age already have such a great sensitivity towards pain?

Frida Kahlo's work, showing at Mudec in Milan until June 3, 2018, is a journey through her life and her thoughts, a journey that has been touched since a young age from pain. The words of that letter written at fifteen years old will be truly prophetic for, unfortunately suffering will be the great companion of her life.

A terrible event on September 17th, 1925, at the young age of 18, drastically changed her life and trapped her in a deep loneliness, art became the only way for her to approach the world. Frida while leaving school got on a bus with Alejandro to go home and a few minutes later she was a victim of an accident caused by the vehicle she was traveling on and a tram. The bus ended crushed against a wall. The consequences of the accident were very serious for Frida: the spinal cord broke in three different points in the lumbar region; the ribs shattered the neck of the femur; she reported 11 fractures on her left leg; her right foot was dislocated and crushed; the left shoulder got dislocated and the pelvic bone broken. A handrail of the bus entered her side and came out of her vagina. During her life she had to undergo 32 surgical operations.

Once discharged from the hospital, she was forced to spend many years in bed, with a plastered bust. In this time of forced confinement she began to paint the subject that intrigued her most throughout the course of her short and troubled life: herself. Unlike Ignatius of Loyola, who was forced to sleep for a long time because of a war wound, he spent his convalescence reading the lives of the Saints (to become St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits), Frida read works about communism and she converted to this illusory and diabolical faith, a faith that does not save and which leads to despair. 'I have to fight with all my strength, the little positiveness that my health left me, is to directed myself towards the revolution. The only real reason to live '.

Communism has as its main goal the creation of a sort of paradise of equality in the world. So we must revolutionize, brake and rearrange the old world with something new that will give happiness.

Her eyes as a young woman were filled with hope and prayer: 'I will pray a lot for you' she wrote to a friend in 1924 and again 'tell me what you are doing, where you going for a walk and which friends you hang out with over there. Are they different from those one you had over here? Well, Chong Leesito, now I salute you and I want you to write me, otherwise I will get angry at you. Pray to God for exams to go well, every night say a Padrenostro and a Avemaria. Her eyes, as shown by numerous portrait photos taken by many important international photographers, have gradually become more and more sad, hopeless. In 1929 she married Diego Rivera, one of the most famous Mexican artists at the time, communist at his maximum, a man who she loved immensely and who cheated on her numerous times. 'I suffered twice in my life ... the first time it was when I got hit by a tram,  the second time it was what Diego did to me'.

With Diego relationship the inner and psychological pain was added to the physical pain, for his betrayals, he cheated on her even with Frida younger sister. The pain due to many spontaneous abortions, separations and so on. The background of her paintings is her beloved Mexico, with its bright colors, its symbols, its vitality. Mexico is the only sign of hope that remains in Frida, represented by the luxuriant nature that is the background to many of her paintings, the embroidered clothes and the bright colors she wears and the flowers in her hairs.

At the end of her path it remains a great regret for her broken life, such as her spine cord. 'I hope the output is cheerful and I hope I will never come back'. How different these words are from the faith she had as a young girl! A pure soul that falls apart at the end of her life abusing of alcohol, drugs and falling in desperation ... it’ s very sad how much darkness and pain ideologies can produce! 

(Maximiliano Cattaneo)

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