“I paint my own reality. ” – Frida Kahlo. To what extent is this true? People labeled Frida Kahlo as a Surrealist, although she disagreed with this title saying, “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality. ” This statement is true to an extent because her main topics of her paintings are love, lost, politics and surgery and they reflect the events of her life. The painting “Henry Ford Hospital” or otherwise known as “The Flying Bed” was done by Frida Kahlo in 1932 with oil on metal.
The painting shows a figure of Frida Kahlo lying naked, exposed and bleeding on a hospital bed after suffering through a miscarriage. A tear is falling from her left eye and six images surround her, all connected to her through blood red cords. There is a side view of the female anatomy, a fetus, a snail, a machine, an orchid and a image of a pelvis. The sky in the background is painted cloudy and the horizon shows ugly factory buildings.
The painting portrays her reality because the painting is one of pain, suffering and loneliness which expresses her life.
Kahlo fells alone without children, in the foreign place of Detroit where the painting is set and that is shown by the bed standing alone on a bare brown floor with only cold factory buildings for company in the distance. Frida Kahlo has used symbolism in the six images to represent her life and feelings towards her second miscarriage which the painting is based on.
It was an extremely painful and saddening experience. The image of the female anatomy is a symbol of her femininity, the male fetus represents the baby Diego that she will never get to have and the snail is a symbol of the painful slowness of her miscarriage.
The image of the machine represents her hospitalisation, the orchid was a gift from Diego and is a symbol of their love and the final image is of a shattered pelvis which is the thing that is stopping her from having children because of the accident that occurred when she was at the age of 18. The statement “I paint my own reality” is true to an extent for this particular painting. Frida Kahlo has painted the event of her miscarriage the way she sees and feels it. Even though the painting is unrealistic, the reality of her pain has been expressed.