Breaking the Shell of Traditional Art with Two Fridas

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Dadaism, known as one of the first art movements to reject 'art', going up against the culture, that had allowed for the destruction of World War 1. With Dadaism art could be created from anything and the concept behind the art work is more important than the actual final artwork. Marcel Duchamp a dada artist, used this when he broke free past the bars of traditional conventions of art, when he created Fountain in 1917. The ‘readymade’ artwork of the urinal signed ‘R.Mutt, 1917, caused great controversy as it fascinated, angered and puzzled many. It was rejected by the Society of Independent Artists’ salon in New York, on the grounds that it was not art, but a practical joke. Furthermore with Duchamp using a urinal and falsely signed ‘R.Mutt’ influenced the salon to believe that it was a practical joke. As the artwork was not even signed, by the artist, breaking escape rule traditions.

Duchamp, escaped through so many ways with him using the urinal based on the belief, that it was likely not to be accepted. This removed the heavy obligation traditional art had on artist’s minds that every artwork had to be visually amusing and beautiful. Duchamp using the urinal escaped the preconceived notion of artistic values, it appeals to the mind, instead of it being aesthetically pleasing. Duchamp further escaped by not even creating the artwork.

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Naive art! An art movement that was truly naïve, as it was characterized by its frankness and simplicity, where artists often ignore the three traditional rules of perspective, they used bold colour no matter the composition, altered perspectives, irregular shapes and the appearance of details are quite rich no matter if its background or foreground. Frida Kahlo, a mid 1900’s powerful female artist, truly encompassed the naive art movement. Kahlo, who constantly put the pain and misery from her life into her artworks, while rebelling against the expected art conventions. She was involved in accident, with a trolley car and bus which she was on collided, sent a metal handrail into her abdomen and leaving her infertile. The terrifying accident and her unsteady relationship with her Diego Rivera the fellow painter who was often the deep expression through her often very disturbing yet vibrant paintings. She often explored her sexual identity and experiences, while also revealing the complexity of a women’s life in the 20th century, while inserting snippets of her own experience. As Kahlo lived during a period of time where middle-class women were forced into stereotypical roles of devoting themselves to domestics instead of following their dreams and career paths.

Frida Kahlo escaped the cell of traditional art conventions through her challenging the normal beauty and social standards, while also exploring significant and complicated issues that included the aftermath of her appalling medical condition, mixed cultural heritage and oppression of women. This escapism is explicitly seen through Les dos Fridas or Two Fridas. The oil painting created in 1939, portrays two images of Kahlo, one in traditional Mexican indigenous attire and one in European attire, these two represent her mixed cultural heritage. With the two women connected by both their hands clasped tightly and by the vein connecting two hearts together.

Kahlo pushes the expected art conventions bars of the jail significantly, as in her artwork she uses the two different attires of her cultural heritage, one being traditional European wear, and traditional Indigenous Mexican wear that she was proud to wear after encouragement from Diego Rivera. The use of the different attires draws the meaning of the artwork to the simplest form as it can be seen that she is drawing on the two parts of her life, the European representing her life before her relationship, and the indigenous Mexican representing her life during her relationship with her deciding what to do after. This is continued through the exposure of the two hearts connected by a vein and the two Fridas hands clasped. This further develops the idea through the most simplistic way, with the connection between the two referencing what her life will be after?

Kahlo further escapes through her ignorance of perspective. As in the Naïve artwork, artists would disregard perspective so that the figures in the art would be seen to be anchored in space. This puts more emphasis on the emotion and meaning behind the work, as you are immediately drawn to the two figures in the foreground. Additionally, her use of bold colours in her artwork no matter the composition is a key way she escaped the usual expectations of art. As this put emphasis on the immense emotion behind the artwork featured in the dark sky behind the two Fridas. In addition to why it was created, being that her relationship ended and the significant pain and hurt she has suffered through events like her accident.

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