Frida Kahlo. Oltre il mito / Beyond the Myth. Mudec, Milano.

For the last couple of months, from dozens of billboards all over Milan, people could have noticed an attentive gaze of a mysterious Mexican woman. Frida Kahlo– one of the most recognized female artists of the 20th century. Her style contains surrealistic influences with a number of references to the pre-Columbian Mexican culture and folk style.

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Curated by Diego Sileo, a one-of-a-kind exhibition Frida. Oltre il mito arrives at the Mudec gallery in Milan and is available to the public from February 2, 2018, till June 3, 2018. It took six years of research to put together not just the artworks, but the letters, the photographs, the sketches and the other materials in order to recreate the world of the artist. The following materials have their home at Casa Azul, the house-museum of Frida Kahlo. The exhibition is divided into 4 themes: Woman, Earth, Politics and Pain, as these keywords best represent the universe of the painter.

A tragic catastrophe is her life made Frida Kahlo step on the path of becoming the icon of art. As a result of the road accident between a tram and a bus, at the age of 18, Frida got a number of injuries that left her bedridden for years. It was precisely then when she first took a paintbrush in her hands.

I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,

used to say the artist, referring to a number of her self-portraits, which are among her most known masterpieces. To a certain extent, Kahlo turned her image into a manifesto. The artist often portraits herself dressed in the clothes typical of the national communities as well as surrounded by animals. The following has its roots in the Mesoamerican beliefs, called nahualli, where everyone had an alter ego in a form of an animal. Thus, one of her famous works “The Wounded Deer” or the “Self-portrait with Monkeys”.

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The Wounded Deer, 1946
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Self-portrait with Monkeys, 1938

The personal life of Frida Kahlo was full of disappointments. She was desperately in love with her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. He was 20 years older than Frida and had a passion for women, often cheating oh his wife. On one hand, she adored her husband, while on the other, suffered a lot. Torn by the doubts, Frida divorced and remarried Diego and the conflict of their complicated love story is best portrayed in “The Love Embrace of the Universe” and “Diego in my Thoughts”.

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Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, 1940
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The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego, and Señor Xólotl
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Diego in my Thoughts, 1943

Kahlo suffered three miscarriages and could never become a mother. The traces of her pain could be seen in a number of artworks of hers. In compensation, however, she was an extravagant persona, known for smoking, swearing, drinking, and yet, during her independent trip to Paris in 1939, Louvre bought one her paintings- an outstanding achievement for a living woman artist of the time!

Frida Kahlo died in a lot of pain, shortly after having her leg amputated due to gangrene. The artist became rather a symbol of strong will and feminism. Kahlo passed away saying,

“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.”

The truth is, she never exited, always remaining in the memory of those admiring her art.

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The Broken Column (Pain), 1944

P.S. To save time and not wait in line, it is recommended to buy the tickets online in advance.

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