Frida Kahlo the rebel, the ocultadora, the sardonic pasionaria of art, is the very symbol of the artistic avant-garde and exuberance of Mexican culture in the 20th century.
The exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale, explores Frida Kahlo's artistic career from start to finish, bringing together her absolute masterpieces from the most important public and private collections in Mexico, Europe and the United States: over forty fabulous portraits and self-portraits, including her extremely celebrated Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird painted in 1940 which is on display in Italy for the very first time, and her Self-portrait Wearing a Velvet Dress 1926, which she painted at the age of only nineteen for her beloved Alejandro Gòmez Arias and in which her elongated neck recalls the aesthetic of Parmigianino and of Modigliani.
The exhibition is rounded off by a selection of drawings including the Sketch for the "Henry Ford Hospital" dated 1932, the famous Plaster Corset in which Frida was entrapped from 1950, the difficult years of her illness, and which she painted with a set of symbols. And lastly, a selection of truly outstanding photographs, in particular those produced by Nickolas Muray including Frida on White Bench, New York, 1939 which was later to become one of Vogue Magazine's most celebrated cover pictures.
Thus the overriding theme of the exhibition is the self-depiction which Frida developed by resorting to the artistic vocabulary of various different eras and which conveys the unique significance that it had for her in the transmission of iconographical, psychological and cultural values.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón claimed to have been born in 1910, the year in which the Mexican Revolution began, but in actual fact she was born in Coyoacán (Mexico City) on 6 July 1907. Her paintings do not simply reflect her own life, however, marked as it was by the terrible accident that befell her at the age of seventeen. Her art is fused with the history and spirit of her contemporary world, reflecting the social and cultural changes that led up to the Revolution and ensued in its wake. Giving free rein to her rebellious spirit, she reassessed the native past and
traditions of Mexican folklore, fully-fledged identity codes that generated an unprecedented fusion between self-expression and the language, the imagination, the colours and the symbols of Mexican popular culture.
At the same time, a study of her work allows us to intercept the tangled trajectories of all the most important international cultural movements that criss-crossed the Mexico of her day, from Revolutionary Pauperism to Stridentism and from Surrealism to what was become known decades laters as Magical Realism. In view of this, in association with Frida Kahlo's work the exhibition hosts a selection of work by artists active at the time who "lived" both physically and artistically in Frida Kahlo's entourage, ranging from her husband Diego Rivera, some of whose most significant works are on display including his Portrait of Natasha Gelman dated 1943 and his Nude (Frida Kahlo) dated 1930, to a selection of artists active at the time such as José Clemente Orozco, José David Alfaro Siqueiros, Maria Izquierdo and others.
Rome and Genoa are joining together to stage an integrated project comprising two major exhibitions focusing on the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The exhibition Frida Kahlo is part of a project promoted by Roma Capitale and the City of Genoa: the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale explores the art of Frida Kahlo and her ties with the artistic movements of her time, from Mexican Modernism to international Surrealism, analysing their influence on her work. The show Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, due to run from 20 September 2014 to 15 February 2015, carries on the story, taking an in-depth look at Frida's private life, a world of immense suffering at the hub of which we invariably find her husband Diego Rivera, in a relationship that was to have a huge impact on her art.