Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Art and Life in Modern Mexico

Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tamaki

15 October 2022- 22 January 2023






Frida Kahlo ( 1907-1954)

Mexico

Self-Portrait with Necklace 1933

oil on metal

The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation

Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki, November, 2022.



Frida Kahlo ( 1907-1954)

Mexico

Portrait of Diego Rivera 1937

oil on masonite

The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation

Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tamaki, November 2022.



I had the pleasure of spending time at this exhibition at the Auckland City Art Gallery early in November 2022. It was extraordinary to see the work of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera hung together in an exhibition. To be able to see visually how each artist represented things important to them in their lives, and how each artist approached the same things in different ways.

I was fascinated in Frida Kahlo's journey of life and how as a woman artist, she told her own story through her own self-portraits.


For instance in this portrait below; Self- Portrait with Braid was painted in a very dark year for Kahlo, 1941, her father Guillermo died and her health declined and war was engulfing the world. Kahlo appears topless, her torso encircled by vegetation, her braid is fraying, her expression is hardened, her face turned while her eyes look forward, as if confronting the events of the world around her.



Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Mexico

Self-Portrait with Braid 1941

carbon print

The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation

Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tamaki, November 2022.




Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Mexico

Diego on My Mind ( Self-Portrait as Tehuana) 1943

oil on masonite

The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation

Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tamaki, November 2022.



In this self-portrait Diego on My Mind you can see a small portrait of Diego on her forehead, in the space of her mystical third eye, showing him trapped in her mind, complicated by delicate threads that unwind from her headdress and roots sprouting from her floral crown. We are left wondering whether this represents new growth by Rivera's presence or a draining away of Kahlo's energy...


Kahlo's work represents her lived experience as a woman, personal and intensely powerful. Through painting, Kahlo addressed aspects of her life closest to her, including her family, Mexican heritage, health and her relationship with Diego Rivera. As a female artist, seeing the self, Kahlo depicts herself and her journey. I can resonate with this, as I am also seeing myself in my art and I am also depicting my life journey.


This quote by Frida Kahlo resonates with me ...

Through the process of painting underlying feelings and psychological atmospheres emerge, which for me emphasises that relationship dynamics are never static, but always changing and fluctuating so consequently renegotiated. This has a meaningful connection to my work as I attempt to depict the effect of familial structures on the interior mind, relating to the shape and space of the psyche. The mosaics of relationships in our lives contribute to the social inscription and coding of the body's surface.









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