Don’t Miss the “Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up” Exhibition At V&A ⇒ The Victoria and Albert Museum present “Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up”, an exhibition of over 200 personal objects from the iconic artist that has left Mexico for the first time.
For over 50 years, the precious items of painter Frida Kahlo have been locked up in the bathroom of the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as Casa Azul, which is the house where she was born, grew up and later died in. Her then-husband Diego Rivera asked for her personal objects to be away from the public eye for at least 15 years after her death, but they were only made public after 2004.
200 of Frida’s personal belongings were revealed to researchers – photographs, love letters, drafts, clothes, accessories, make-up, medicines, even her hand-painted leg prosthesis. These objects have left Mexico for the first time for the Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up exhibition at the V&A, from June 16th to November 4th 2018.
The exhibition gives a much broader vision of the artist and her work, that reflected her tempestuous feelings, due to a lifetime of intense pain and suffering.
Photo by Jack Hobhouse
In order to create an atmosphere that would resemble Kahlo’s style, Gibson Thornley and Tom Scutt travelled all the way to Casa Azul, in Coyoacán, to study its details. Entering the exhibition, the visitor is welcomed by a tunnel with rectangular pillars covered in a 3D geometric print – a reference to the traditional dresses of Tehuana, worn frequently by Frida. The opening piece is inspired by The Two Fridas (1939), with two mannequins holding hands, one wearing a modern European dress and the other the traditional Mexican dress.
In the second room, the V&A exhibits the morphine-based medicine the painter took to ease her pain, her custom shoes and event the orthopaedic devices that held the upper part of her body up. Make-up, like her favourite lipstick (Revlon’s Everything’s Rosy), perfume, other intact cosmetics and accessories are also present on the displays, with a big photo of Frida laying on her bed ad background.
There’s also a third space that serves as a re-interpretation of the temple that exists in the gardens of Casa Azul. Behind the glass, more mannequins dressed in Frida’s clothes, some of them never seen before. Around the temple are four paintings where the artist is wearing those clothes. The walls, of course, are an intense blue.
The long skirts of the traditional Mexican dresses helped disguise the physical handicaps caused by the accidents and the illness. Besides being a part of the way she presented herself to the world, the floral, embroidered, fun and colourful dresses influenced fashion tendencies all over the world. Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up shows not only the surrealistic paintings of the artist, but she adapted herself into a work of art.