Frida Kahlo: unseen images of a legendary artist

(AFP) – Mexican artist Frida Khalo, whose notoriety and popularity continue to rise, is the subject of a documentary in theaters Wednesday in France, with unpublished images that feed the artistic and feminist myth.

“Frida: Viva la vida”, with the voice of actress Asia Argento, tells the story of a woman (1907-1954) proud both of her popular and indigenous roots in Mexico and of her belonging to the currents before – guardians of Europe between the wars.

“We chose to talk about two Frida, one via her relationship between pain and art, and the other via her discovery of the roots of Mexico, the importance of pre-Columbian art in her work”, explains to AFP the director Giovanni Troilo, reached by phone.

The documentary addresses both the physical pain, the operations, the three abortions suffered by the artist, as well as his ability to reflect them in his production, through the reprocessing of Catholic ex-votos, the portraits, the tears, the blood.

It shows photos and little-known objects, taken from the collection of the Frida Khalo Museum, in the famous “Casa Azul” in Mexico City, which has become one of the three most visited in Mexico.

We particularly notice the images shot by photographer Lola Alvarez Bravo in the 1930s, with Frida and Tina Misrachi, daughter of a prominent gallery owner. Both speak, Frida kissing her lightly, as she soon closes the door, her eyes into the camera, without blinking. The footage says a lot about a woman who endured the permanent infidelities of her husband, the painter Diego Rivera, but also had relationships with various men and women.

From that time on, “I have the impression that she knew perfectly well that she was writing her diary, painting, for us, for the future”, according to Giovani Troilo.

Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide uncovers previously unseen shots of rooms in Casa Azul that were closed for about half a century, until 2004, such as the bathroom. When they reopened, they were full of Frida’s personal belongings, left intact.

The artist’s works are now reaching auction records. On November 17, “Diego and I” (1949) flew to New York for nearly $ 35 million, by far the most expensive painting for a Latin American painter.

The release of the documentary coincides with the exhibition “┬íVida la Frida!”, At the Drenthe museum in Assen (northern Netherlands), which brings together more than 40 works: for the first time presented together, from Mexico, from objects from the Frida Kahlo museum and paintings and drawings from the Dolores Olmedo museum.