February 21, 2013

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?

Who doesn't know her? Frida Kahlo.

Most of her paintings are self portraits.
"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best"

The pop trend depicts her as a brave, feisty victim/heroine, broken down by tragedy after tragedy.  Contracting polio at the age of 6, a fatal accident which led to a numerous surgeries, lifetime pain and complication, troubled marriage of 25 years to Diego Rivera, an renowned mural artist and a notorious womanizer. Diego was well known for being incapable of fidelity, having said,"It's just a fuck. I've given more affection in a handshake.", had numerous extramarital affairs, even with Frida's younger sister.
She is the epitome of tragedy, victim of fate and male oppression, yet remains strong and tries to live life to the fullest extent.

Being physically impaired and having numerous surgeries myself, I can relate to her very much. I love her fire, strength, optimism, and passion for life. But I would say she's a masochist, when it comes to heartache. She couldn't say no the the surgeries and pain, but she could've actually done something about Diego. But yet, as a supposedly strong woman, she begged for Diego's love, was promiscuous herself, went through some unnecessary surgeries to have his attention, and in the end was addicted to alcohol and drugs to suppress her physical and emotional pain.

"There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst."

Dear Frida, I do admire you a lot, but Diego isn't an accident. It's your choice. You could've removed yourself from the situation, why did you choose to torture yourself? Love?

Ah well, it doesn't affect the fact that she's a great artist, anyway.
Out of all her paintings, I love this one the most, it resonates a lot to me.
"Arbol de la Esperanza, Mantente Firme" : "Tree of hope, remain strong."

She painted this self portrait after a blotched surgery.
At day she was fragile, slumped on the surgery table with open wounds, but at the end of the day, there she was, sitting upright, proud and confident with her hands holding a spine corset she hoped to throw away and a flag saying "Tree of hope, remain strong."


Pain, represented by nails piercing her entire body. The biggest nails represent the most severe pain, which is her heart.
Broken spine.
Head held high.
This is my favorite part: showing her sense of humor, she painted doves of peace in the pupils of the eyes.

When the art critics called her a surrealist, she answered,"I never painted dreams or nightmares. I painted my own reality." 

And when her leg had to be amputated, she wrote in her diary:
"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?"

Dali's Elephants

Those who have ever been to my tiny apartment in Leipzig must have seen this Dali's repro hung on my wall.
Some commented that this painting depressed them, it is bleak, deserted and empty. Why would I hang this painting in the middle of my room?  

They are right in a way, this does look depressing at a first glance, but I have a different feeling when I look at this absurdly surrealistic painting. I don't see emptiness there, I see imagination, difference, sky of possibilities. I see a beautiful sunset sky, opening up the the horizon. And look at the elephants, they are touching the sky.. They aren't supposed to be that high, are they? They're supposed to roam the ground, having huge heavy legs.. But look at them here, they aren't 'normal' elephants, they are different, that's why they can soar despite the heavy obelisks they're carrying on their backs. 
Look closely at the people on the ground, they look like robots.. They are 'normal', complying to the set standards, yet so far from reaching the beautiful sunset sky.  
Fyi, this painting was inspired by Bernini's sculpture of elephant and obelisk at the Roman church Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St Mary above (conquering) Minerva). I was there, hehe.

I've always loved Dali. He is so absurd, so original, he challenged the norms of normality. In his 'persistence of memory' I see how he changes the strict concept of time into melting clocks, representing the idea that time can be flexible, maybe incorporating Einstein's theory of relativity. 

February 18, 2013

If you were to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

"He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

Most of us don't really know what we really want in life, what really matters and what makes us happy. Some think that owning a Hummer and a shiny Rolex is an achievement, others think being a high flying CEO matters much. Nothing wrong with that surely, passion and ambition are what makes us feel alive.

One day a friend asked me out of sudden,"If you were to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?" Maybe people will give out different answers, but I answered,"I would surround myself with people I love, my family and friends." I can't thank him enough for waking me up. Now I know what matters most for me.

My mom is currently refusing to sit at a same table to dine with us (my dad and me), because she feels ignored. Once we were dining out with her, my dad and I talked about business and religion, something she's not interested in. Since then she refuses to eat together with us and prefers to watch her korean drama during dinner time. It is actually sad how holding the grudges makes her miss some important moments. I can only think to myself,"This moment will not last forever. Someday we won't be able to sit around a table to have dinner anymore, why won't we make the best of it while we still can?" But if it makes her tick, then ok. I am not she, will never understand either. As of now, I will cherish every moment I have with the people I love, refusing to regret it only when it's too late.

The question also helps me a lot in letting go of some minor annoyances. If I die tomorrow, does getting angry over ___ (fill in the blank) really matter?

Just a thought.

February 17, 2013

The king's three questions

1. When is the most important time? Now
2. Who is the most important person? The person you are with
3. What is the most important thing to do? To do good to the person you are with

A short story by Tolstoy
Complete literature here:
The king's three questions - Tolstoy

I wish most people who are so absorbed in their smart phones while having quality time with their friends or families would read this ;) It's a pity how many times I saw a family or a group of friends, sitting at the same table but don't really talk to each other and are busy with their own phones.