frida @chiapas.net is about Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter born 1910 and died in 1954. This work is not about the Frida Kahlo we know, but about the one we suspect: her bearing in the world today and the durability of her determination. It is a distillation of her timber, a prodigious transit into the unknowable.
frida @ chiapas.net is about Subcomandante Marcos, Mexican warrior, leader of today’s zapatista army in Chiapas. This work is not about the Subcomandante Marcos we know, (through his internet communiqués), but about the one we suspect: his address to the world today and the endurance of his charge. It is the marrow of his substance, an intersection in time.
I talk about something else, how other breezes begin to blow, how another wind is rising. Move-in, the feet that walk back and forth!
Allow us to blind the sun.
The devil is free. The macaw is in your pocket.
'A macaw is fire and a parrot dry wood. Along came the devil and told them they should.'
And soon one thing lead to another and this little egg that I now have in my hand is the endangered forbidden fruit of their illicit relation.
A coefficient of paintbrush and gun.
An alloy in orbit."
— Maria Pessino and Ellen Frank, Aug. 2002
ABOUT FRIDA KAHLO
Frida Kahlo was born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon in Coyoacan, Mexico, July 6th, 1907. She was one of four daughters born to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent. She did not originally plan to become an artist. A survivor of polio, she entered a pre-med program in Mexico City. At the age of 18, she was seriously injured in a bus accident. She spent over a year in bed recovering from fractures to her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, and shoulder and foot injuries. She endured more than 30 operations in her lifetime and during her convalescence she began to paint. Her paintings, mostly self-portraits and still life, were deliberately naïve, and filled with the colors and forms of Mexican folk art. At 22 she married the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, 20 years her senior. Their stormy, passionate relationship survived infidelities, the pressures of careers, divorce, remarriage, Frida's bi-sexual affairs, her poor health and her inability to have children. Frida once said: "I suffered two grave accidents in my life…One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego." The streetcar accident left her crippled physically and Rivera crippled her emotionally.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Maria Pessino was born in Cuba in 1957. She left Cuba as a young child, grew up and was educated in Europe. She has been living in East Hampton, New York, since 1990, with her children. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Oddfellows Playhouse, a not-for-profit artist’s theater company, which instigates new work and uses alternative indoor and outdoor stages throughout many locations in the Hamptons. She is founder and honorary co-chair of the Community Board of Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center. In addition to developing theater works, Maria Pessino constructs magic environments inside boxes –Troves– shown in numerous galleries of the Hamptons. She holds a Bachelors Degree of Arts from New York University in Drama Therapy and Psychodrama.
Artist and scholar Ellen Frank’s many awards in painting, book design and scholarship include a Fulbright Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation Fellowship, Pollock Krasner Award in Painting, and a New York Foundation for the Arts grant. Ms. Frank holds an interdisciplinary doctorate from Stanford and Yale. In 2004 she founded ELLEN FRANK ILLUMINATION ARTS FOUNDATION, Inc. (EFIAF), a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization. The global initiative to revitalize, create and exhibit the art of illumination, EFIAF applies historic and literary traditions to integrate art with social justice to build an international culture of understanding. Since 2005 Ms Frank has directed EFIAF’s Peace Education Program, the ILLUMINATION ATELIER, where she has worked with and united youth from more than 15 countries, artists and scholars to research and create its illuminations. The process and artistic products, the workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions and symposia, testify to the transformative power of the collaborative artistic experience to bring forth positive social changes.
Texts inclusions by Frida Kahlo, Subcommandant Marcos, Rigoberta Menchu, Jalalud’n Rumi, Federico Garcia Lorca, Sir Thomas Whyatt, Ellen Frank.
John Monteleone, Corina Katt Ayala, Don Williams, Onahua Rodriguez, David Conolly, Anne Scobie, Kate Mayfield, Rick Colitti, Hamilton de Oliveira, Louie Leonardo, Ana Lucero.
Review: Frida Kahlo Plays at Robert Wilson's Center Marion Wolberg Weiss view article (pdf)