• Essays

Frida's disturbing art

by Daniela Falini

All the latest imagery trends make use of human body: performers, visual artists, cyberartists, creatives, everybody uncovers bodies, opens bodies, ties bodies, cuts bodies, paints bodies, tatoos bodies.

Nowadays fragments of bodies are spread everywhere.
Frida Kahlo made this 60 years ago, showing in her paintings:

  • bloody births and deaths
  • fetuses
  • corpses
  • disembodied organs

Other distinctive features of Frida's works reveal her as a forerunner of modern (or even better postmodern) extreme cultural tendencies, that explore the same ground Frida went over with a good deal of courage and anticonformism for her time:

  • the vacillating limit between visible and invisible
  • the strong attraction for transmutation, transformation, mutations of several kinds
  • invasion of body by external objects
  • the breaking of traditional separations such as body/mind, outside/inside.

Referring to this last point the following quotation from Jacques Derrida really stroke me when I read it. Derrida's words seem perfectly correspond to one of the most recurrent aspects of Frida's art: to let the outside show the inside eliminating phisical barriers such as skin, to exhibit outside the inside of her life.

 
"... from the invisible inside, where I could neither see nor want the very thing that I have always been scared to have revealed on the scanner, by analysis - radiology, echography, endocrinology, hematology - a crural vein expelled my blood outside that I thought beautiful once stored in that bottle under a label that I doubted could avoid confusion or misappropriation of the vintage, leaving me nothing more to do, the inside of my life exhibiting itself outside, expressing itself before my eyes, absolved without a gesture, dare I say of writing if I compare the pen to a syringe, and I always dream of a pen that would be a syringe, a suction point rather than that very hard weapon with which one must inscribe, incise, choose, calculate, take ink before filtering the inscribable, playing the keyboard on the screen, whereas here, once the vein has been found, no more toil, no responsibility, no risk of bad taste or violence, the blood delivers itself all alone, the inside gives itself up and you can do as you like with it, it's me but I'm no longer there, for nothing, for nobody, diagnose the worst..."