Frida Kahlo never thought of herself as a surrealist as many people did. In fact, given the context of the historical background of her works, she was regarded as more of a feminist cult figure than anything else. Not even Kahlo herself recognized the surrealist dimensions of her paintings until Andre Breton, acclaimed critic of surrealist art, classified her work as such. Andre Breton's essay on Frida's development of surrealism in her art focuses primarily upon Breton's opinion that she had no idea of what type of art she was creating. This stems from the suggestion from Kahlo's artwork that she put more emphasis upon the thought process of her view on the world, rather than on the actualization of certain objects into her art work. The essay thus encourages the interpretation of Frida Kahlo's work as the portrayal of perspective, and this inclination coincides with Frida Kahlo's intent in creating art. Based upon the contextual background of the essay and the framing of the piece What Water Yields Me within the essay, this exact interaction with the thought process of the piece of art, defined by the essential doctrine of surrealism, is encouraged. However, it must be noted that the essay does not provide a sufficient insight for a complete analysis of Frida Kahlo's paintings, most notably in My Birth.
[...] The essay touches upon the “political line and the artistic line” on which Frida Kahlo is delicately balanced. Breton states hope that they might unite in a single revolutionary consciousness while still preserving intact the identities of the separate motivating forces that run through them.” Therefore, there remains little doubt that the essay encourages a politically charged interpretation of Kahlo's paintings while not forgetting the artistic inspiration behind them. Though the essay itself is not controversial, it could cause dispute and disagreement over the way Frida's artwork is interpreted. [...]
[...] The accompanying illustration, What the Water Yields Me, is the example of one such work that combines the elements of feminist art that Frida Kahlo was so famous for as well as the latent surrealism Breton praised her for. Breton states in his essay, surprise and joy was unbounded when I discovered that her work has blossomed forth in her latest paintings into pure surreality, despite the fact that it had been conceived without any prior knowledge whatsoever.” Once the surface is penetrated in the analysis of Kahlo's art, however, one comes to the conclusion that Andre Breton's essay about her art is not completely accurate. [...]
[...] Clearly a surrealist painting in the absurdity of its content, the focus of My Birth is on the pain Frida Kahlo felt with every stillborn and miscarriage. The dead adult-like infant being born also eludes to Frida's distress over her many miscarriages, an effect of her inability to deliver a child due to her vaginal injuries. The focus is on the juxtaposition of death within the process of life, and allows the viewer to infer Kahlo's pain at being alive in a world where she felt dead both inside and out. [...]
[...] Also, because of their educational background, the target audience is better able to grasp the idea of surrealism as the depiction of a thought process, rather than a visual representation of real objects. This idea lends itself to interpretation of the accompanying illustration, What the Water Yields Me, as well as Kahlo's My Birth in the manner encouraged by the essay. What the Water Yields Me is an intriguing work of art, both taken at face value, and within the context of Breton's essay. [...]
[...] This allows for a more realistic approach in understanding the meaning behind what Frida Kahlo paints. The context of the article is within an anthology of essays that chronicles the advent of surrealism in the artistic world of the early 20th century. Frida Kahlo de Rivera is sandwiched between an article on Wolfgang Paalen and The Most Recent Tendencies in Surrealist Painting. Wolfgang Paalen was known most famously for his technique, in which he created patterns with soot and smoke from a lit candle. [...]
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