Psychotropical, from Frida to Jodorowsky


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“I paint the flowers so they do not die …”

Frida Kahlo

Psychotropical is the name of a possible future trend, a subset of the psychedelic movement. Usually, psychotropic fashions are defined by vibrant palettes, vivid patterns and tropical prints rendered by digital engineering and deformed visual signals borrowed from nature such as sunsets and tropical undergrowth.

The clothing, beauty and accessories related to this style are denoted by a hyper-real perception of nature, underlined by vivid synthetic colors.

The reasons for this nascent tendency seem for a moment to be taken from the naturalistic backgrounds and the imagery of Frida Kahlo’s paintings in which there is a lush and wild nature, a sign of the tropical environment where she lived, but also a symbol of her character fiery and passionate.

In the corpus of works, in fact, the most exotic plants and animals caress the figure of Frida or change it, creating a particular harmony of fusion with the creation that makes the artist and the respective relationship with nature, an example of the most intense environmental passions in the history of contemporary art.

Thus the theme of tropical nature is recurrent in its artistic production, sometimes in the backgrounds, other times in the main subjects, or it is herself to be plant or animal.

In Frida’s imagination, nature represents both the link with the cultural tradition of the South American country, and the arcane strength in which she identifies herself with passion.

When tropical nature remains in the background, it merges with the identity of the artist representing the tradition and roots of his homeland: Mexico. The dreamlike vein that appears in his works belongs to a tropical wild, ancestral nature, where the ferocity is held harmonically together with the whiteness of the forest. Humour and cruelty coexist in Frida; her art is a land purified by suffering and brought back to that primordial state where love and pain, passion and freedom, bonds and rebellion, have the same strong colors. A work at the level of the unconscious translated into a surreal symbology made of continuous references to the Mexican flora and fauna.

Not surprisingly, Alejandro Jodorowsky contemporary psychomagist, coming into contact with a Mexican healer, discovered and studied this type of work from a psychological point of view, discovering a discipline that facilitated the healing of patients through anti – conventional methods. So he conceived the Psychomagia: a phenomenon that consists in proposing to the suffering person to make a symbolic gesture, apparently illogical but strongly emotional, such as to allow him to change his point of view, thus activating healing.

A symbolic action that, speaking directly to the unconscious, breaks the habit and the way of normally facing life to activate a new inner awareness, an indispensable prerequisite for healing.

It is undeniable that Frida’s talent has to do with the mechanisms of this discipline, with an art that was nothing but the sublimation of her pain and the push to go on by exorcising death.

In her works, as in the future trend, a strong presence can only be the sensuality of plants, almost living bodies that create a luxuriant tangle.

There are also the clothes of the women of Tijuana, the ornaments that recall the ancient pre-Columbian civilization and the colors of the Mexican land. There are also numerous images of animals, the same ones that roam free in the garden of Casa Azul; the love of the painter for the plants and the trees that grew in her garden makes it clear how these natural elements inspired her art. The animals that Frida paints beside her are only her alter ego, creatures of her inner world, a reference to instinctive natural forces, a dark attachment to life.

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Frida loved wearing long skirts, shawls, earrings, wreaths and flowers in her hair. His style consisted of traditional clothes such as Tehuantepec embroidery dresses mixed with floral prints and white cotton shirts with Sangallo ruffles.

A mix of exotic and modern will shape the particularity of a style refined for future fashion. Between tradition and futuristic visions that surpass the real, the warm colors of the Mexican land will tend more and more to extend on clothes, locations and furnishing accessories with a lively palette of ocher, red and cobalt blue. Tropical ideas will come back in prints and fabrics accompanied by marvelous jewels, to tell the artist’s decisive femininity.

A journey to discover the magic of Mexico, impressed in the art of a woman who marks Mexican history and who relives through her style able to give contributions in various artistic fields even today; an extraordinary example and expression of eternal life energy.


Writer: Raffaella Ungaro

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