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The Chemistry of Kahlo Blue

The Chemistry of Kahlo Blue

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez Arte prehispánico. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez + 17

Before the monochromatic works of Yves Klein, who created the International Klein Blue (IKB), Frida's 'Kahlo Blue' already existed in Mexico City's core.

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

The Frida Kahlo Museum, better known as “Casa Azul” (Blue House), is located in the center of Mexico City's Coyoacán district. The house was acquired by the Kahlo’s in 1905 when the then white structure was an example of constructive colonial typology: a central courtyard surrounded by rooms that limit in continuous facade with the street.

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

Fortunately, the composition of that building underwent changes. Frida would use her childhood home, after getting married, as a residence and art studio, making modifications and expansions to the original project. Of the changes, in my opinion, the most important and work of art in itself was to paint the house an intense blue.

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

The properties of the house were changed forever for two reasons: the first is the cultural symbiosis that occurs between colonial architecture and the native peoples of Mexico through the use of color. The second is the experience of inhabiting the house as a visitor.

Pirámide del Patio. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Pirámide del Patio. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

Mexican poet Carlos Pellicer describes it as, "the house, painted blue inside and out, seems to lodge a bit of heaven."

Azul Kahlo. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Azul Kahlo. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

Similar to a spiritual sky, the Blue House, evokes the sensation of transcendence. When crossing the entrance portal, the atmospheric conditions change, and one emerges into another climate. The foliage in the garden, cultivated with species selected by Frida (maguey, nopales, and yuccas, among others), and the design shadows on the flat blue walls generate a microenvironment of filtered light that is humid and rustic.

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

The reddish floors contrast the organic spontaneity, with the disposition of pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces, lodged mainly in the pyramid of three levels, located in the last extension of the patio.

Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Pirámide del Patio. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Pirámide del Patio. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

More than an edifice for the pictorial works of Frida Kahlo, the Blue House is a reactive agent; in the creative process of its owner, and now, in the trajectory of its visitors.
The visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum was made possible thanks to the coordination of CDMX World Design Capital 2018.

Arte prehispánico. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez
Arte prehispánico. Image Cortesía de Danae Santibáñez

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Cite: Santibañez, Danae. "The Chemistry of Kahlo Blue" [La química del azul Kahlo] 18 Jun 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/896628/the-chemistry-of-kahlo-blue/> ISSN 0719-8884

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