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Tue Jun 28, 2016, 12:58 AM

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera review – romance, heartbreak and a must-see exhibition

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera review – romance, heartbreak and a must-see exhibition

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Breaking a 10-year absence from Australian galleries, the paintings, photos and letters of the two Mexican lovers is illuminating and tragic

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
Monday 27 June 2016 22.22 EDT

Frida Kahlo was 18 years old when the bus she was travelling on crashed in Mexico City. The teenager was impaled, breaking her spinal column, pelvis, collarbone and ribs. The force of the collision ripped off her clothes, leaving her bleeding and naked. And, in a twist somehow prescient of Kahlo’s colourful, tragic life, a packet of powdered gold carried by another passenger exploded, showering her broken body in flakes of the precious metal.

That was Kahlo’s first serious accident. “The other accident,” as she once said, “is Diego.”

Kahlo met renowned muralist Diego Rivera just three years later. Although towering over her, corpulently rotund and two decades older, she fell for him immediately. Both events, as we are reminded in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ winter blockbuster show Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, caused a lifetime of mental and physical anguish. But they also shaped Kahlo’s art, providing her paintings with an obsessive ferocity that have cemented her place as a Mexican icon.

Although small in scale and scope, the exhibition – from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection – is significant, not least because neither artist’s work has graced the shores of Australia in any meaningful way for the last 10 years (an absence compounded by the fact no Australian museum owns pieces by either Kahlo or Rivera).

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jun/28/frida-kahlo-and-diego-rivera-review-exhibition-art-gallery-of-nsw

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