While studying the paintings and the diary of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, trying to decipher her ideas and her extraordinary experience of staying between life and death, fantasy and reality, I create an altar of her creative thought.
With the help of symbols, visualization of images, flowers and needles, I plug into the artistic codes of Frida’s works and diary, which crystallize to me into a retablo — like ornament.
*Retablo is a Spanish version of an altarpiece, dating back to the middle of the 14th century. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were among the first people who started collecting it.
Creating a retablo is a meaningful process for me, similar to a ritual: from waiting for flowers to die to laying them out in form of a system of signs. The same elements repeat, and the practice of creating a retablo also repeats, emphasizing more and more its ritual-like quality.
While piercing the dying flowers with needles, I rethink the votive images discovered by Frida, connected with sacrifice and death, as straightforwardly and ruthlessly as it is characteristic of these themes.
Using the transmedial format of a Frida Kahlo’s diary combined with photos, art and text is an attempt to strengthen the life-affirming manifestation of ex-voto.