The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Cardoza y Aragón believes Mexican painting had reached a unique and magnificent era and in his judgment, some of the works by Frida Kahlo were “some of the best” that had been produced in the last fifteen years. He describes her work as “tragic, refined and bloody painting,” an act of catharsis through which the artist sought to free herself from suffering in order to exalt life. Moreover, he believes the pre-Hispanic past had a presence in her work, unlike Surrealism. According to Cardoza y Aragón, to believe that Surrealism can be found in her painting is to ignore the land and character of Mexico.
Many of Frida Kahlo’s (1907–1954) contemporaries believed her identification with Surrealism was a forced interpretation. It resulted from the lack of understanding regarding her true background: a deep identification with the traditions, language, and folk art of Mexico. The Guatemalan critic Luis Cardoza y Aragón (1901–1992) lived in Mexico and experienced the transformation of the artist’s visual language and the life span of her painting. His friendship with Kahlo began when she married Diego Rivera (1886–1957).
Cardoza y Aragón’s articles on Kahlo’s œuvre can be regarded as an act of validation; he was one of the first critics to study various artists whose work had been really eclipsed by the overwhelming presence of the muralism movement in Mexico.