Wednesday, March 19, 2008
What the Water Gave Me
Emotional pain is often the inspiration for great works of art, but physical pain doesn't act the same way on the mind. Physical pain does not inspire, it grinds. It pares the soul down to the barest essentials of survival, so that there is only a bright spark of self in a sea of agony. Pain is not in any way beautiful. It is shit and piss and vomit; it is mean and common, and most of all it is boring.
Frida Kahlo's art is not about pain, not directly. She painted the fear of pain, the love of death, political upset, tension between modern life and historical roots, the distress of being a woman. But she painted all this while in pain, and her work is subtly disturbing because of it. The amazing thing about her is that instead of allowing her pain to deaden what she felt and how she expressed herself, she somehow transmuted dust into gold.