Monday, March 26, 2012

on the bookshelf : Frida Kahlo

Who has seen a Frida Kahlo look-a-like at a costume party in the last few years? 
Im sure many of you are nodding right now... 
With her mono eyebrow, braided black hair and vibrant red lipstick, the character and individual aesthetic of Frida has had a huge following in recent years. She has always been a key figure in art history classes, and has starred in many retrospective exhibitions in the last few decades, notably the massive Tate Modern exhibition in 2005.
But why so popular in popular culture? And why now? 

Ive always been interested in Frida's artwork. Yet recently have I wanted to explore her life and her thoughts beyond the canvas - especially as I have always wanted to discover how she was such a prolific artist while overcoming such obstacles in her physical life.
{She would be a fantastic case study for anyone with a desire to let go of any personal problems creatively.} 

Throughout her whole life she expressed her thoughts and feelings in art and poetry. Painting after painting...  drawing after drawing, Frida was prolific at expressing herself. 
But I never knew about her diaries.

Last year I found this new publication by Alas Rotas called 'The Diary of Frida Kahlo : An intimate Self Portrait'.  And I was fascinated. 
Rotas has scanned page after page from Frida's personal diary and then translated the images and poems without embellishment. So the reader feels like they have the original diary on their knee, raw and exposed. 
Which is something truly rare...

Each page is in full colour and so expertly translated that every illustrated mark and brush stroke can be seen
and studied.

All the poems and letters are also seen. And what is truly lovely is that you can see where old pages have
faded and inks have bled through the paper of the original diary... making you feel like you have the original in your very hands...

Beautiful, original, unique + colourful.

Before I head off to the studio I just have to give you a couple of quotes from Frida that I found this morning.....

Through the round numbers
And the coloured nerves
The Stars are made
And the worlds are sounds.

Revolution is the harmony of form and colour and everything exists,
and moves, under only one law = life.
Nobody is separate from anybody else.
Everything is all and one.

The Diary of Frida Kahlo : An Intimate Portrait
by Alas Rotas. Introduction by Carlos Fuentes. 
HNA Harry n. Abrams Books NY. 
ISBN 978 - 0 -8109 - 5954 - 5

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