Surrealism In Fida Kahlo

2103 Words 9 Pages
Frida Kahlo, one of the most well reputed, thoroughly studied, and widely influential artists today, has been comprehensively misunderstood and exploited since before she had achieved international notoriety. Kahlo’s relationship with the surrealist movement is complicated; André Breton and his fellow surrealists considered Kahlo’s paintings to be archetypal surrealist works due to their outlandish imagery and fantastic themes, yet Kahlo herself rejected the title and even disdained certain fundamental aspects of the movement. As an active artist in Mexico in the 1930s and 40s, Kahlo was certainly influenced by surrealism, but the extent of the movements’ appropriation of Kahlo’s artwork, and personhood as a whole, was egregious and entirely …show more content…
Because of these three characteristics, Kahlo was very much the ‘other’ in the context of the rapidly expanding art world of the mid 20thmid-20th century, a trait that appealed to the surrealists. It is, however, precisely this otherness that distinguishes Kahlo from the surrealists; her motives for painting the jarring and confrontational subjects that she did were to express herself, the female, pained, spiritually and politically inclined person that she wa s. While many surrealist writers and painters used indigenous imagery and distorted or unconventional themes of femininity in order to shock their prospective viewers, and at times even purposefully alienate them, Kahlo’s motives for painting were quite different. Kahlo’s paintings were informed by her strong political views and allegiance with the working class, which led her to create art with the intention of both expressing those views and affecting change. As Janice Helland states, “She was a political radical and passionate nationalist, whose art was inspired as much by her public beliefs as by her personal sufferings. As such, she should be seen not as a …show more content…
Although she was not born of indigenous blood herself, Kahlo delved into the myths and practices of indigenous culture in many ways including attire , as Rebecca Block discusses, “she actually adds a third dimension to her representation of marginalization: a resolute association with indigenous culture.”. Kahlo’s wardrobe choices are only the beginning of her relationship with indigenous culture; her paintings are riddled with indigenous imagery such as skulls, hearts, and skeletons, that allude to ancient myths and situate the paintings in the context of Mexico’s present state by disallowing its pre-Columbian past to go unnoticed . Like everything in her paintings, the indigenous imagery was fundamentally important to Kahlo as a person, “She expressed her deeply felt nationalism in art by favoring the representation of the powerful and authoritarian pre-Columbian society that had united a large area of the Middle Americas through force and

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