Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Death of Art or the Art of Death

It caught my attention that Manson mentioned just recently his interest on Frida Kahlo's work. She is often labeled under Surrealism , although she declared she was not officially part of the movement. Still, her paintings have rich symbolism and vivid colors, which are things that we might find in visions or dreams. For these new series of blogs I chose four different themes and compared Kahlo's work with some of Marilyn Manson's paintings.


In such countries such as Mexico, Death is not always seen as a sign of tragedy. In fact, such celebrations as the Day of the Dead and the use of poems such as the "calaveritas", and the imagery of The Catrina show a more optimistic and sometimes satirical perspective. Frida's childhood was no exception for these traditions, as show here in the painting called "Niña Con Mascara de Calavera" (Ella Juega Sola).

Colors also play an important part in Kahlo's symbolism. There is a predominant blue which could stand for tenderness. This helps soften the subject of Death even more.

Now this other painting called Thinking of Death (Pensando en la Muerte) as you can see around her forehead a skull and crossbones symbolizing passing through. Again, this doesn't necessarily mean that the subject was being taken seriously but rather it was just a transition period, such as death and rebirth. Indeed, when it was done around 1943 Frida was suffering from the consequences of numerous operations and was confined to a bed. Thus, the background filled with thorny branches, a symbol derived from Pre-hispanic mythology points to a life of a different kind.

Moving on to Manson I found this clear example of a smeared blue skull, labeled as "Everyone Has a Blue Period". Now. in previous blogs we already described how many famous artists had a series of paintings in blue in order to evoke a particular feeling. Here, the skull I'd say it's clearly representing Death. In Western culture on the other hand this subject is most of the time feared and the color black is associated with it. The blue in this painting transmits a feeling of spirituality and transition as well. This could also be a way of taking something tragic into something much more powerful than the end of life.

It's no secret that Manson uses death to draw a line between what's been done and what comes next. On a personal point of view both artists handled it well.

untitled, presumably labeled "Everyone Has a Blue Period"

0 comentarios:

Post a Comment