A wish… to rework Fridachromo
Frida Kahlo is an icon or a role model for many people for many reasons. In June 2007, whilst doing an MFA at the University of Exeter, I created and performed Fridachromo: a play. Set during the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival (November 1st/2nd) 2007, in a conjured up vision of a neglected garden behind the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City. Taking the structure of a phantasmal Noh play, Fridachromo is an almost solo performance involving a mysterious primary character (The Shite in Noh). In the imagined presence of Diego Rivera (the Wake in Noh), she goes through a process of transformation, accompanied by a chorus of three ‘Fridas’. Through dance theatre, layered voices and visual imagery the intention of the action is to lay to rest the ghosts of Frida Kahlo’s life to release unbounded creative spirit…
When time and money permit, I would like to create a full production of this piece with a much bigger chorus and a few other new ideas….
FRIDA KAHLO 1907-1954
While she was damaged by polio as a child, was seriously injured in a bus crash, had numerous operations on her spine, a lower leg amputation, and experienced four miscarriages/abortions and periods of hospitalization, she was also widely educated as one of thirty-five girls in a school of two thousand students, in a time of revolution and upheaval in Mexico. She became actively engaged in left-wing politics, independently and with highly successful Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, who she married, divorced and married again during their tumultuous relationship. Both Rivera and Kahlo had numerous affairs.
Kahlo’s artistic life can be divided into three periods:
1) Her student life and first three years of marriage to Diego Rivera: Her paintings, mainly simple portraits, appear influenced by Rivera’s methods. This period seems to have reached its peak with Kahlo trying to play a traditional role of the doting wife of the Great Painter.
2) In 1932, her mother died, she had a miscarriage and she and Rivera lived for a while in the US. Her work changed considerably: she moved away from direct self-portraiture to symbolic self-representation, which had much wider cultural and societal resonances. She began to portray alternative identities through mythical and symbolic figures and found her identity as an artist in her own right.
3) From 1944-54 Kahlo wrote a diary that has since been published. It gives profound insight into her art, which she often defines in terms of her relationship with Rivera.
“A ribbon around a bomb” surrealist Andre Breton writing on Kahlo’s work