Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Dublin

Ever since Fintan O'Toole declared in his Irish Times column that anyone who hasn't heard of Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera must be "Living under a rock," I've been striving to scramble from beneath my stone roof and skulk off to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) for a look.

Unsurprisingly, cameras not allowed in the exhibition hall so I had to make do with a sneaky snap of the view of IMMA gardens and beyond from an upstairs window.

Not only is the exhibition a feast for the eyes,

with its deep colours

and forensic detail

but the compelling, personal story of prolific Frida Kahlo,(1907-1954) wife of fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera,(1886-1957)

is as absorbing as her artwork.

Ill health due to childhood polio and horrific injuries sustained in a train accident that saw her undergoing thirty five operations, a volatile relationship with husband Rivera, ambivalent sexuality, and an inability to bear children - all inspiring the 143 paintings produced in her short but eventful forty seven year lifespan.
The pain and desolation of miscarriage, a subject rarely openly discussed by women of her era,

chronic ill-health

and ambivalent relationships

are firm themes.

An artist who truly wore her heart on her canvas.

"I never painted dreams," Kahlo insisted, "I painted my own reality."


Susannah said...

A really interesting post Mari.

I was familiar with the work of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera but didn't know anything about 'them' least of all the fact that they were a couple.

Thanks for enlightening me. :-)

Mari G said...

Hi Susannah
I confess I hadn't heard of them at all until exhibition came to Dublin.
Great to hear from you!

Debbie said...

Love the lilies - and what pain in some of the others. A fascinating couple indeed, especially in Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna. And that's even before Trotsky pops into the marriage ... Debbie

Mari G said...

Hi Debbie
The Lacuna is definitely on the reading list now!
Good to hear from you.

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. (A Growing Teenager Diary) .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

eileen said...

What a fascinating couple they were! I love Rivera's big paintings with the calla lilies. But also what a traumatic relationship they had... makes you wonder if you could possibly qualify as a 'real' artist unless you have a crazy kind of life??

Mari G said...

Hi Eileen
A crazy kind of life is likely to be conducive to the creative flow, perhaps?
Nice to hear from you.

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