A couple of years ago I came across a nude photo of Frida Kahlo. I guess she did a lot of experimenting in the roaring 1920s / 1930s. I was intrigued by her body position: reclining and amidst two cats, completely demanding the camera in a relaxed way though.
I did a lot of thinking what to do in the painting compared to the drawing ‘Sans titre – 11-10-18’ I made earlier. The scale is much bigger so one can show more. What story to tell? A biopic or more of a personal opinion on her? To my students I often tell about her: that an artist can be successful employing great imagination without an abundance of refined techniques. The first is necessary, the latter not sufficient on its own.
Reading about her love for stalinism and supporting the ‘Mexicanidad’ I must say that, if those brows only look commanding, her appetite for communism and The Aztecs certainly did make me frown. To me her and Rivera’s way of looking at the world seems all too much salon socialism to me. I never saw such a lush place like the Casa Azul in Mexico City; never saw a communist labourer owning such a place. And those Aztecs, weren’t they warmongers, thirsting for blood like all stalinists? I came to the conclusion that some of her appetites were poorly chosen, not in the last place her love for Diego Rivera and she might be right in stating that the second tragic accident was meeting him, next to the bus accident.
Nevertheless did she make great art, in spite of her curious preferences and severe handicaps. Therefor intriguing enough to paint. I hope I added a painting worth to see after so many paintings already made.
Last but not least I found out she was fond of animals and that, in my eyes, certainly flips the balance in her favor. Strangely the cat was reclining in the exact same position as my drawing of my own cat Furia I made in 2016. Therefor I could not find a better place for Furia, deceased in 2016, than this final resting place next to Frida. She’s well taken care after in the drawing, on the panel and in the afterlife I think.
Oil on wood panel (85 x 120 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers