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Why the exhibition “Frida Kahlo—Conexões entre mulheres surrealistas no México” (Frida Kahlo—Connections among surrealist women in Mexico) touched me so deeply is hard to define. One thing is for sure: it goes beyond the ravishing artistic quality of the paintings, sculptures and photographs assembled by the show’s curator, Teresa Arcq.
Maybe it has to do with surrealism and its vigorous invitation to pull us to the core of our unconsciousness, into a scary and fascinating territory. Or maybe it has to do with the force of the feminine, which exhales its bittersweet perfume, taking over our senses, wrapping us up in mystical and dreamlike stories and in surreal, yet so real, history. The intensity with which some paintings struck me made it difficult to stay behind the safety line. What is a safe distance for a piece of art that has the power of moving us, anyway?
Yes, this show compels us to contemplate our inner selves through the revelation of the private yet universal world of Frida and these other fifteen artists. It was a gratifying surprise to discover the courage, audacity and resilience in the work of these women, especially Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo.
The exhibition doesn’t collude with the conventional myth of Frida Kahlo but unties her from the commonplace of a psycho-biographical artist and places her into a greater context, where she plays a larger role connecting Mexico, United States and Europe. In this way, Frida is like the sun, radiating her own beautiful being, influencing interesting and fertile women through aesthetics and ideological affinities, enlightening the Mexican culture and its traditions, as well as the whole, disturbing and beautiful world we live in—the inner and the outer, the real and the surreal.
Frida Kahlo – Conexões entre mulheres surrealistas no México
In São Paulo, through January 10, 2016.
Instituto Tomie Ohtake
In Rio, from February 2 to March 27
Caixa Cultural do Rio de Janeiro
In Brasília, from April 12 to June 12
Caixa Cultural de Brasília