I recently attended the Frida Kahlo exhibit at The Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Words cannot express how her artwork moves me. It’s almost as if you can feel the pain. And the pain is so compelling and awe-inspiring that you cannot look away. Her art seems to beg the question of a desire for pain in order to transform into something more profound, balanced and pure. As if the pain was meant to be a part of the transcendence.
If you are not familiar with Frida Kahlo, a brief background update can be found here. Or you can check out her biography Hollywood style by watching the movie, Frida. It’s playing on Netflix these days. I really liked the movie and thought Salma Hayek did a fantastic job. It’s worth the watch.
At the age of 18, Frida was in a horrible traffic accident and it is from that experience her life of pain and art began.
Frida’s work and life presented at The Dali include several of her more well-known pieces as well as numerous photographs from her life. This is what I find most fascinating about the exhibit. The photographs. Those are the ‘real’ moments. Glimpses into reality and truth. It’s probably why I’ve always been drawn to the photographic art versus art paintings. The imagination can paint wonderful images but they are a stark comparison of an actual moment in time, which often offers up something more perverse and meaningful.
As I looked through the photographs in the exhibit I began to see a common thread. Frida did not smile much. Perhaps her tumultuous marriage with the artistic philanderer, Diego Rivera, or the constant pain from her accident and the isolation of it all drove her sorrow. I could feel it. It was palatable as I reviewed the images. I was moved with emotion.
If you are unfamiliar with Frida Kahlo give her work a view. It’s beautiful, weird, full of pain and emotion and will surprisingly uplift you in the most unassuming way. With her use of color and imagery to describe her world, you too will be transcended.