最近維也納奧地利銀行藝術論壇（Austria Bank Kunstforum）正展出芙烈達的畫作，儘管對這位充滿個人風格的女畫家作品，沒有太多印象，我還是在朋友的邀約之下，前往觀賞展覽，而結果完全超乎我的想像。
This might seem like an ignorant understatement; however, I kind of suspect that many people, like me, learnt of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican femal artist born in the early 20th century, from the movie "Frida".
Recently, Austria Bank Kunstforum in Vienna is holding a Frida Exhibit. Even though I didn't know much about her paintings, I joined several friends of mine for the exhibit, which was totally an eye opening experience!
Even after I watched the movie "Frida", until I went to this exhibit, I assumed that Frida was only famous because of her beauty and private life.
However, seeing her paintings in real life makes me realize how shallow my opinion was.
Her paintings are generally very powerful, with bright colors, almost over-the-top composition which brings out a taste of extravagance; however, what really is overwhelming are the emotions and sorrows hiding behind those colors.
芙烈達的畫作非常具有個人風格，因為對她而言，這是她自我闡述的方式，她的每一幅畫作都受到個人生命經歷的影響，她將生活中的經歷、想法、感受，用畫筆傳達出來。也因此，芙烈達的畫作中通常充滿了許多符號。為了準確傳遞自己的想法，芙烈達利用符號元素來作為語言的出口，一如這幅作為展覽海報的『戴著荊棘項鍊的自畫像』（Self-Portrait with Necklace of Thorns）即為一例。戴在脖子上的荊棘項鍊既有基督教殉難者的暗示，亦顯現她所承受的苦難與傷痛。項鍊上的蜂鳥則象徵祈求愛情的庇佑，但芙烈達身後虎視眈眈的黑貓，卻意味著死亡與厄運，彷彿暗示著她的愛情經常是處於危難的狀態下的。
Never formally trained as an artist, Frida started painting excessively at 18 after she suffered from a life-threatening car accident which would eventually cause her lifelong pain and suffering to release her feelings and pass through the long lasting recuperation. Hence, a great artist was born.
Frida has a very distinct style. To her, painting is her way to express herself. Her paintings are, hence, coming from her personal experiences, which incoperate her life, viewpoints and feelings. Therefore, she also used a lot of symbols to tell the story. Taking the "Self-Portrait with Necklace of Thorns", the painting used as the poster for this exhibit, as an example, the necklace of thorns implies not only a Christian martyr but also the pains and sadness she bore. The hummingbird as the ornament of the necklace is a prayer for love, while the predatory black cat behind Frida symbolizes back luck and death that seemingly implies that the love of Frida herself has constently in danger.
And the love constently in danger had been one of the main sources causing her depression.
終其一生，芙烈達此生最重要的愛人迪高●里維拉（Diego Rivera），既是她至寶般珍愛的男人，也是她諸多錯綜情感交織的對象。初相遇時，迪高已是墨西哥知名的壁畫家，而比迪高小了21歲的芙烈達才剛開始跨出藝術的步伐。崇拜著迪高的芙烈達，和迪高的情緣糾纏數十年，經歷一次離婚又再婚，兩人在婚姻的過程中，也都不斷有各種外遇。但不管和其他男女如何來往，迪高一直是芙烈達的摯愛。也因此在受到迪高外遇不斷的折磨下，芙烈達畫出許多重要的畫作。畫作《迪高在我心》（Diego on My Mind）即是芙烈達以畫作表達出她亟欲佔有迪高，不容其他女人分享的心情。烙印在穿著迪高所愛傳統服飾的芙烈達額上的迪高，被交錯如蜘蛛網的樹根包圍，而芙烈達眼神中流露著哀愁，傳達出芙烈達因迪高外遇而感到痛苦，希冀將他綑綁的慾望。
Throughout her life, Frida loved dearly, respected and yet was enormously tortured emotionally by her great lover of life, Diego Rivera. When their lives first collided, Diego had been a famous mural artist in Mexico, while Frida, 21 years of his junior, only started painting. Their love story stretched over decades, and they divorced once and remarried, with both of them encountering numerous affairs. However, regardless her affairs with different men and women, Frida had always held a tremendous amount of love for Diego and been tormented by his endless affairs, which inspired some of her most important artwork. The painting, "Diego on My Mind", is a classic example of showing her desire to possess him. In the painting, Diego, as imprinted on the forehead of Frida who is in a traditional dress that Diego adores, is surrounded and trapped in the roots tangled like spider web, and Frida carries sorrow in her eyes. It expresses Frida's pain caused by his affair and her desire to never share him with any other woman again.
The car accident Frida suffered at teenage caused severe damage to her ovary and spine, making it hard for her to carry a baby. During her life, she endured several miscarriages and one abortion due to health condition. The miscarriage, abortion, along with Diego's endless affairs and her everlasting physical pain made her sink into depression from time to time. Her miscarriage at Henry Ford Hospital prompted her to paint the painting using the name of the hospital as title, in which Frida, lying on the hospital bed, bleeding from down below, is linked to a snail, a fetus, a female torso, a fractured pelvic, orchid and a machine. The snail implies the slow procedure of the miscarriage, the orchid symbolizes the female genital, the fetus is what she longs for, the female torso indicates the specific female organ affected, the fractured pelvic forms part of her and the cold machine represents all the medical apparatus at the hospital. All in all screams for a dream she held through her whole life that could never be granted.
或許受到這樣的影響，在她的畫裡也經常以大地、母親、陰陽、日月的協調等概念為主題。整個展場中，我最喜歡的，也是這個以陰陽調和為主題的區塊。就像『宇宙、大地、我、迪高與Xolotl先生愛的擁抱』（The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth, Me, Diego and Mr. Xolotl）這幅畫裡，芙烈達擁抱著宛如嬰孩的迪高，他們同時被大地之母及宇宙層層懷抱著，在日月爭輝之下，黑狗Xolotl先生安靜地沈睡，他既是芙烈達的寵物，也代表阿茲提克神話中守衛黑暗界的狗頭人身Xolotl。儘管芙烈達的這些畫作傳達出她對和諧與完整的渴望，她的生活卻總是動盪得多，這些追求都只是她生命裡另一個未竟的嚮往。
Probably influenced by her personal life, Frida used the earther, mother, yin-and-yang, sun-and-moon harmony as the theme in many of her paintings. This section is actually Sunny's favorite part of the whole exhibition. In "The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth, Me, Diego and Mr. Xolot", Frida embraces the child-like Diego while they both are in the arms of Mother Earth and the Universe. Under the lights of the sun and the moon, Mr. Xolotl quietly sleeps. He is at the same time, Frida's pet, and also represents the guard of the underworld, Xolotl, in the Aztec mythology. Despite her yearning for a harmonious and complete life as expressed in her paintings, her life had been far from harmonious. All of it is just another life-long dream that never became true.
For her usual illustration of her internal world, Frida was quickly characterized as a "Surrealist", even though Frida herself dissed being categorized as such. To me, her paintings are a coalition between Symbolism, Expressionism and Surrealism. However, just like her fighting against confinement, her artwork is not meant to be defined.