Frida Kahlo at the V&A
You know the artist, now see her closet.
The always fascinating Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting the first exhibition (outside of Mexico) of Frida Kahlo’s
clothing and personal possessions, including dresses, accessories, jewellery, photographs and letters, and even more interestingly, medicines and prosthetics.
Kahlo used her own image over and over in different ways and with varying degrees of self-flattery to explore ideas of femininity and image. You know the eyebrow(s), the flowers in her hair, and hopefully you know her work. However, in spite of the colors and the flowers and being portrayed by Salma Hayek, things were never easy for Kahlo. Between childhood polio and a 1925 tram accident, and the resulting trauma to her spine and body, she was nearly paralysed and later had to wear a prosthetic leg and a corset that would make your organs wilt. During her early recuperation, trapped motionless in a four-poster bed, she spent hours looking at herself in the mirrored canopy and thus her painting began, using the only subject she had.
The items on display at the V&A were discovered in the Blue House (her Mexican birthplace, now a museum) in 2004, following the opening up of fifty-year old cupboards and storerooms. This ground-breaking V&A exhibition will explore the development of Kahlo’s visual and fashion style, how she blended traditional Mexican garments, fashion from Europe and beyond, became comfortable within her own uncomfortable skin, and learned how to accept the inside to look outward.
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A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.