Three days ago, when the New York Botanical Garden announced that they’ll show an exhibition about Frida Kahlo’s garden, together with her paintings, which shows her deep connection with nature, our hearts stumbled. What a bright idea! And what a good opportunity to write something about one of our all time favorites!
Kahlo spent most of her time at her house, the Casa Azul in Mexico City, as she suffered her whole life from an almost lethal accident that she had when she was a young woman. Unable to walk very well, she lived in a rather small environmental situation, where friends meant everything and love even more. Being a woman blessed with a strong appeal she had enough of everything and still never was entirely happy. Her paintings show her mourning, they let us witness how she struggles with her own fate, we see her pain, physically and mentally.
The Casa Azul and its surrounding garden was Frida Kahlo’s refuge as well as her empire. There her romance and fights with her on-and-off-husband Diego Rivera took place, there she had her flirts with both women and men, and yes, there she met Leon Trotzky to whom she gave shelter when he had to flee Russia and with whom she had a mad affair in order to spark Rivera’s envy and to win him back – successfully.
What is interesting, however, is when you look at photographs of Frida Kahlo, then you can discover this person, but not when you look at her painted self portraits. In photography her sensuality shines through, her strange beauty as well as her humour. Moreover, we can image in what opulence she used to live. And we mean an opulence of things, of colors and textiles, of jewellery and flowers. Curating an exhibition around this opulence is a wonderful way of getting a fresh view on Kahlo’s work beyond the beaten track of showing her as the „lady of sorrow“. So let’s give a whole lotta love to this idea! By the way, who wants to join us on our trip to New York next year?
Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life
The New York Botanical Garden
May 16 – November 1, 2015
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. © 2014 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York