Venice - Exhibition

Leo Matiz: Frida in Venice, the Mexican painter seen by Matiz


17 Jun 201617 Aug 2016

The untamable and quiet spirit of Frida Kahlo seen by her friend and photographer Leo Matiz. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is universally considered as a symbol of modern art and, at the same time, an icon in terms of resistance to pain and opposition against disease.

Leo Matiz, the tireless Colombian traveller who is considered to be one of the greatest photographers of the XX century, met Frida Kahlo in the 1940s. As a result, the friendship between the two of them gave rise to a series of pictures, taken by the photographer born in Aracataca, which reveal the sensitivity and soul of the Mexican woman beyond any form of physical pain.

The Ar33 Studio of Venice (Italy), starting from Friday 17th June 2016, will be showing 30 unedited photos, taken in black and white, aslo in colours, in which the Mexican painter and her private life results to be the main subject. The name of the exhibition “Frida in Venice: the Mexican painter seen by Matiz” aims to represent a spontaneous, fresh and funny approximation of Frida Kahlo’s personality through the filter of Leo Matiz’s camera.

These images, captured during a particularly scandalous period of her life, reveal Frida’s quiet attitude in front of the camera. In some pictures we can see her wearing clothes inspired by the European fashion instead of the traditional tehuana dresses. The pictures by Leo Matiz correspond to a phase creative and personal maturity of the painter who learnt how to accept her physical fragilities and her husband’s (Diego Rivera) proves of infidelity.

Leo Matiz had been living in Mexico in the 1940s and affirmed to be in love with the light, the culture and the people of that country. Before his death in 1998, the photographer reminded of the first time he met Frida and Diego, admitting that “I met up with Diego Rivera several times and it’s curious how many things we now know about Frida Kahlo, were unknown to the people at that time. To me, she had a quite sad life.

Diego had a strong personality and Frida was a fragile woman condemned to disability for the whole life. She was full of corsets and similar objects. Actually, she was invalid and her suffering was evident. She used art to release herself”.

The two coordinators of the photographic exhibition, the Ar33 Studio and Leo Matiz Foundation, have both confirmed that “Frida in Venice: the Mexican painter seen by Matiz” will include a series of pictures of Frida Kahlo taken by the Colombian photographer and then edited by Italian artist Emanuele Viscuso: the images try to evoke a sense of empathy towards the subject, giving the opportunity to put ourselves inside the artistic pain of the painter and, moreover, inside the fights for releasing her tormented and vulnerable body. “The body of a shapeless, broken doll lays on the portrait painted with warm colours. It’s a strong reference to the disability provoked by the paralysis and, further more, the tragic consequences produced by her phisycal conditions. Viscuso chose to make people live the moment of the accident by cutting the paper and inserting small pieces of wood in the cuts in order to reminds us of Frida’s wounds”, affirmed

Italian critic Chiara Fragalà. Similarly, Leo Matiz Foundation confirmed that the 1st April 2017 will be the 100th anniversary since Leo Matiz’s birthday. For this reason, the institution is going to organise a series of events including exhibitions, conferences and publications in Mexico and in the US about the works of this extraordinary artist. His daughter Alrjandra, the coordinator of the Foundation, will be in Venice to inaugurate the exhibition.

Frida Kahlo had never visited the emblematic Italian city in her life. Now, thanks to her affectionate friend Leo Matiz (who had Venetian origins) she will be there for the first time.

  • Frida Kahlo, Leo Matiz © Alejandra MatizFrida Kahlo, Leo Matiz © Alejandra Matiz
  • Frida Kahlo, Leo Matiz © Alejandra MatizFrida Kahlo, Leo Matiz © Alejandra Matiz

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Leo Matiz

Special Events

Destination: Venice
Where: ar33studio
Type: Opening

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