Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Skira 2023
Italian translation of the exhibition catalogue and exhibition panels by Scriptum

In the exhibition catalog Victoria Combalía answers the question about “Why are so many people equally fascinated by Frida’s life and works?” “Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón came into the world on July 6, 1907 in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City.

Years later she would dedicate a painting to her own birth: a child who appears to be dead rises from a woman whose face is concealed by a sheet; on the bed, an effigy of Our Lady of Sorrows pierced by swords, as a kind of omen of all misfortunes to come.

With great perspicacity and a good dose of machismo, Diego Rivera said that Frida expressed ‘with absolute frankness and in a quietly fierce way, the general facts that affect women exclusively’ For him, as for Picasso, woman was destined to suffer. It was no accident that he had stated, ‘The more I love a woman, the more I wish to hurt her.’

In reality, three different Fridas seem to have existed, if not more. One is the one revealed in the artist’s letters and writings: a suffering and unstable person, but also lively, politically combative, always looking for love, contradictory, ironic and endowed with a great sense of humor. The second is the haughty Frida who nails her gaze on the viewer to the point of hypnotization, impassive and with her face slightly tilted to one side. The last is the one who, without ever neglecting pride and demeanor, presents herself as a mask of pain; the icon, soon to be converted into a symbol of women’s suffering, on which the interpretation of her painting as a vindication of the female condition is based. Today as yesterday, the myth of Frida Kahlo lives on.”