Monday, January 18, 2010

Sun 17 Jan

Spent the day in Brussels, (blue sky and sunshine. Miracles do happen!) and went to the excellent Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Bozar gallery (not to be confused with the Palais des Beaux Arts gallery, which to my English ear sounds the same when pronounced).

I'd never really given her much thought until I saw the film 'Frida,' which really does give a magnificent portrayal of the woman and the artist. A real inspiration who, as the gallery explains, became an artist 'literally by accident,' after the bus she was on in Mexico collided with a trolley car and almost paralysed her for life. Before which she had never harboured any ambitions of becoming a painter.

The accident left her in considerable pain for the rest of her life, and it is this pain that one sees in her paintings, many of which are self-portraits. She famously said: "I never painted dreams, I painted my own reality." She is also widely praised by those on the Left for staying true to her Communist roots until the day she died and refusing to compromise her views in exchange for wider (global) acceptance.

Of course I have no idea how much of the film is completely accurate, but what is undeniable is that she had a pretty torrid and difficult life, and that, in my mind, some of her paintings are truly wonderful. A real feminist icon if ever there was one.

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