Thursday, October 24, 2013

La Vida Frida: Frida and Friends @ Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

If you are a Frida Kahlo devotee, this show is for you. Frida is depicted in photographic portraits over and over, by many of the top photographers of her day. The woman whom Andre Breton accurately described as "A ribbon around a bomb", who is revered and elevated to cult status decades after her untimely passing, whose art has matched in price that of Picasso, Pollock and Warhol, rather her echoes of light, inhabit the prints in this show.

Love of Frida aside, this show is important for other reasons. Frida was very conscious of her visage, and projected it with verve when photographed, as she did in her own paintings, specially those where two Fridas occur.

Frida Kahlo, "Two Fridas"

Note the controlled facial and body expression, and particularly the dresses. Frida created a persona, often wearing her Tehuana constume. This is reflected in the portraits in the FMoPA show. Every portrait involves a give and take between the sitter and the portraitist. "Frida and Friends"  is a great opportunity to study this tension and how different approaches beget varying results. Do the Nicolas Murray portraits give a hint of their affair? If anything they superficially seem a little more formal than others.

A photographer only needs to get what he wants for a few seconds, depending on their photo-reflexes. Probabilities and potentials almost vibrate rising and falling between the sitter and photographer. Frida knew what she looked like, and how to project it. She only seemed to relax or perhaps really trust only a few of the photographers whose work is in this show. One of these is Lola Alvarez-Bravo, wife of renowned photographer Manuel Alvarez-Bravo. She was one of the great photographers of her day, but labored under the shadow of her famous husband.

See this show until November 10th, 2013. Enjoy Frida, but consider the portraiture process as seen in this remarkable show.

Congratulations to FMoPA for a really interesting show.

--- Luis

No comments:

Post a Comment