Reading through the diary of Frida Kahlo. That statement makes it seem a simple project, a matter of starting at page 1 and following the linear route towards its inevitable end. But with Frida Kahlo, nothing is simple. Nothing is obvious. Nothing is linear. I stop already at the first page, confronted with endless random words linked, occasionally, with a verb. I count seven verbs in total: “I am coming.” “I am” (twice). “I search.” “tumbling – I draw close.” “sleeping.”
Obviously it’s going to be a challenging journey. I sit back for the ride.
Frida Kahlo’s diary is an intensely introspective space that marries text with image. On one page we get words, a cascade of text . Another might offer up a series of unfinished portraits. On still another, she’s shaped an ink stain into a bull, a reclining woman, a wing, an eye. One image, dated 1953, presents the ‘bust’ of her right foot, imagined as a receptacle for a thorny plant. Language, throughout is fractured, broken, nonlinear. Seemingly random phrases give way to introspective poetic ruminations. Reflections about her relationship with Diego Rivera juxtaposed with comments on Stalin and indigenous Mexican images. ‘Reading’ this diary is no easy task, and is no easier when it’s read in relation to her self portraiture. Here images of a broken and suffering body are captured in the broken and fractured language she explores to express the most intimate parts of her being….