“I paint flowers so they don’t die”
An olfactory journey around Frida’s imaginarium
Frida loved plants and nature and considered the garden of Casa Azul a place of well-being and inspiration. Flowers were everywhere, in her hair, framing her proud sight, typical of the strong pop icon she then became. Flowers and nature are everywhere in his works. The painter’s love for plants, fruit and flowers is expressed above all in still lifes. She loved using local fruits and flowers as a means of enhancing Mexican heritage and nationality.
The garden recalled the nineteenth-century European taste for ferns and palms to which were added native plants such as agaves, cacti and prickly pears, which grew together with quince trees and apricots, pomegranates and oranges. Flowers and fruits of the garden were then used to create compositions on the large dining table, where the protagonists were blue and white iris, dahlias, calla lilies, violets and marigolds. Often the artist kept flowers among the pages of books and left them to dry. These natural elements have been so important that the Botanical Garden of New York has dedicated her an Exhibition in 2015.
The symbolism of flowers, plants and animals in her work is very rich and we limit ourselves here only to some suggestions: the magnolia, a widespread flower in Mexico, valued by the Aztecs, inebriating and short-lived (like Frida), as well as the Hibiscus. The cactus, her mexicanidad. Bougainvillea and peacock tail as an expression of the vanity of transvestism and the openness, typical of Frida. Colibrì, in which Frida loved to identify herself, was worshipped by Maya and Aztecs, while dahlias, symbol of femininity, gratitude, freedom, are very present in Mexico. Brambles and thorns symbolize the pain to which the artist was subjected. And then daisies, callas, lilies, azaleas, sterlizias, chrysanthemums and finally, for us extremely significant, the acanthus leaves, symbol of rebirth.
Have yourself a wonderful, colorful, fragrant, magical journey discovering this unique artist! Let yourself be inspired!
"Brother: I cannot tell you anything about your happiness. What can one say when life begins? ... " Frida writes this in August 1927 to Lira (whom she kindly called Chong Lee for his strong passion for Chinese culture) one of her friends-lovers-allies. The collection of letters contained in this book, many unpublished and translated for the first time in Italian, can help to understand the main characteristic of Frida Kahlo's profile: heart, and its versatility. She was a daughter, an artist, a wife, a friend, a lover, a confidant, a militant politician, a theorist, an agitator, a renewer, a woman of her time.
Through these letters we discover the rare world of Frida, a world without rules, almost exclusively interior, a world made up of our dreams and our fears, a reflection of our moods. The letters also recount the break before and after the frightful incident occurred to Frida, transforming the cheerful and enchanted teenager into a character of tragic grandeur, always and in spite of everything able to maintain a deep desire to live.
The selection is curated by Diego Sileo, theorist and art historian, curator of the PAC (Contemporary Art Pavilion in Milan), whose work is focused on experiences and theories related to performance and body poetry. He has designed, among others, the exhibitions of Vanessa Beecroft, Yayoi Kusama, Franko B and curated the personal exhibitions of Marina Abramović and Regina José Galindo. As a student of the processes of aesthetic creation in South America, he specialised at the University of Mexico City and University of Buenos Aires, and in 2010 he was part, the only European member, of the research project on the new archive of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera discovered in Casa Azul. A unique and deeply passionate guide, able to open the heart of Frida ... and, we hope, a little bit of ours too. Enjoy your reading!
FROM FRIDA WITH LOVE
Frida Kahlo’s letters
Curated by 24ORE CULTURA
Placed in the hearth of the Design District, MUDEC is the meeting point between cultures and the community. The project of the “Cultures’ Museum” was born in the 1990s when the Municipality of Milan purchased the former Ansaldo industrial area to use it for cultural activities. In the architectural scenario of disused factories, the Municipality of Milan designs a multidisciplinary center dedicated to the different testimonies and cultures of the world.
The exhibition area of the Museum, on the first floor, develops around a large covered central square and houses the section dedicated to the permanent collection and the rooms dedicated to large temporary exhibitions. The auditorium, a theater dedicated to performance and visual arts, completes the space. On the ground floor there are a bistrot, a design store, the Forum delle Culture hall, and workshop spaces. Finally, the MUDEC Lab is a place entirely dedicated to children, offering guided tours and entertaining thematic workshops linked to the museum path and the current exhibitions.
In perfect dialogue with Frida Kahlo’s exhibition and consistently with the Mudec project, the exhibition "The ancestors’ dream. The archeology of Mexico in the imagination of Frida Kahlo" is an articulated story made of Mexican archaeological and ethnographic objects from MUDEC’s permanent collection, historical photos and images of works by Frida Kahlo, which show how the indigenous world and the pre-Columbian past constituted fundamental elements of the artistic work of the Mexican artist.
Mudec is worth a visit even just for the beauty of the structure, designed by architect David Chipperfield, whose striking feature is the contrast between the curved lines of the central transit space and the geometric and regular volumes of the individual exhibition rooms, further accentuated by the various gradations of light and color of different environments. Enjoy your visit!
Museo delle Culture di Milano
Via Tortona 56
The coriander, one of the notes of "spices bouquet" olfactory pyramid, was well known in ancient times and also suggested in the texts by Pliny the Elder as an antidote to the discomforts of influence. This spice is rich in properties but also in curiosities!!! The word coriander derives in fact from the Latin term “Coriandrum”, which comes from the Greek word “corys” (bug), followed by the suffix - ander (alike). The name of this plant refers to the particular scent emanating until the maturation of the fruits and in fact it is also known as “erba cimicina”. Another trivia concerns the name of this spice and why today we call “corianders” the bits of colored paper that kids throw at Carnival: in the XV century, during the celebrations, confetti were usually thrown, often consisting in iced coriander seeds. Through time, these little sugars evolved and they become the small paper pieces that we know today, maintaining the name of the spice.
The plant from which the Coriander comes belongs to the Ombrelliferaes and is native of the Mediterranean area. Coriander leaves are spicier and are appreciated especially in Eastern Ccountries (that’s why it is also known as Chinese parsley); also the fruits are used: they are yellow grains similar to the pepper ones, and their sweetish taste resembles that of lemons.
Coriander is a good natural remedy against the digestive diseases. It has a stimulating effect and antibacterial action and it is a good ingredient for spice mixes for its delicate taste. We can find it among the ingredients of the curry and the garam masala, the Indian spice mix, but it is used in different international cuisines, from the Far East to Mexico, as well as in the preparation of liqueurs and digestives as Gin and Chartreuse. Enjoy its qualities!