The great exhibition of the Gelman Collection dedicated to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the two Mexican artists united in life and in art, opens in Padua on February 14th.
Until 4 June, the cultural center of Altinate-San Gaetano displays 32 works by the famous couple (23 by Frida Kahlo and 9 by Diego Rivera), numerous photographic portraits and Mexican costumes, in a choral and traveling exhibition that has been going around the world.
It has been to London, New York, Melbourne, New Zealand and now it has arrived in Padua, the only Italian stop.
Promoted by the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Padua, the exhibition is curated by Daniela Ferretti and organized by the Vergel Foundation, MondoMostre and Skira, in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura.
The most important nucleus of the works comes from the famous collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman, who had an intense relationship with the two Mexican artists, by whom they also had their portraits.
In the exhibition, alongside the paintings, there are also photographic works, portraits made by the best photographers of the time: Héctor Garcia, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Giséle Freund, Martin Munkacsi, Nickolas Muray, Lucienne Bloch, Edward Weston.
Finally, a section is reserved for Mexican costumes, whose colors reverberate in Kahlo's works and in those, from murals to oils on canvas, by Rivera.
It is iconic Mexico that emerges in this exhibition, that land and those people who in the central part of the 1900s attracted intellectuals, artists and militants from the Old Continent.
«Padua represents an important turning point in the journey of this exhibition - commented the councilor for culture Andrea Colasio - which will return to Mexico City from where it started.
It is therefore an unrepeatable opportunity to confront an artist whose figure is unique, not attributable to traditional categories.
It is truly a great exhibition - councilor Colasio continues - which I hope will find a positive response in the public not only in Padua and Veneto».
But why are so many people fascinated by the life and works of Frida Kahlo?
In her intervention in her catalog, the art historian Victoria Combalía comments: «Three different Fridas seem to have existed, if not more;
one is that revealed by the artist's letters and writings: a suffering and unstable person, but also lively, politically combative, always in search of love, contradictory, ironic and endowed with a great sense of humour.
The second is the haughty Frida who fixes her gaze on the observer until she is hypnotized, impassive and with her face slightly tilted to one side.
The last is the one that, without ever neglecting pride and restraint, presents itself as a mask of pain;
the icon, which soon became a symbol of women's suffering, on which the interpretation of her painting is based as a vindication of the female condition.
Today as yesterday, the myth of Frida Kahlo lives on".