Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up Exhibition at the V&A

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse, 1939, photograph by Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

This summer the V&A will display Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, an exhibition dedicated to revealing how the artist constructed her unique and iconic identity.

Prosthetic leg with leather boot. Appliquédsilk with embroidered Chinese motifs. Photograph Javier Hinojosa.Museo Frida Kahlo. © Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Museums.

At the age of 18 Kahlo suffered from a serious bus crash that left her bed bound and debilitated. Art became an important tool for self-expression and she would often focus on painting self-portraits by using a mirror inset into the canopy of her four-poster bed.

Frida on the bench, 1939, photographby Nickolas Muray© Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

The exhibition will reimagine Kahlo’s Mexico City home, renowned as the Blue House, and will explore her life from childhood all the way up to her marriage to Diego Rivera. This will be the first exhibition outside of Mexico to display more than 200 objects from the Blue House, including: her clothes, cosmetics, jewellery and intimate possessions. Intricately hand painted corsets and prosthetics will also be displayed alongside film and photography of the artist as a visual narrative of her life.

Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec huipil and plain floor-length skirtMuseo Frida Kahlo© Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Museums.

Kahlo’s cultural pride will also be explored following the Mexican Revolution (1910-20). Kahlo used her distinctive appearance as a political statement to reflect her mixed race identity and her allegiance to Mexico; traditional Mexican garments from her collection will be on display to exhibit this.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up runs from 16 June – 4 November 2018 at the V&A Museum, Cromwell Road London, SW7 2RL. Sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland .

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