Even in death, we deserve a little bit of privacy, no matter how public a live we lived, there should be some things that remain unknown, even in death, especially about our most intimate moments. I love Frida Kahlo, I’ve journeyed around to see her art work. I find her story both compelling, fascinating and heartbreaking. On the one hand we are inspired by how she lived her life on her terms and on the other, we were left saddened by her pains; physical and emotional.
In her art she shared a lot of herself, gave enough and then some more. She told the story of her self discovery, her loves, heartbreak and the agony and glimpses of joy; carrying us on a journey, even in death.
The new exhibition at the V&A shows us her life in some of her most intimate snap shots, a few portraits and personal items. This is intimate, it feels like we are invading her most private moments, moments she tried to shield from the world to maintain some dignity. Her prosthetic legs, positive pregnancy test note from her doctor, casts she wore after her miscarriage, the straps from the painting, The Column… There were contents of make up and perfume bottles, lipstick; she favoured Revlon and was friends with Helena Rubenstein who sent her make up, her earrings and shawl. What tipped the edge was most certainly her crutches and corsets and the shoes made to accommodate her gangrenous leg before it was amputated. Too much of her life is on display here, too much of her story is being told.
I mean I get it, we are fascinated by life stories especially with a life as colourful and lived like Frida Kahlo’s so we want to know more, but there comes a point when we get to let them hold some of it back from us, these moments, snippets of their personal traumas and most vulnerable periods… they get to hold something back even in death. Still, this is a good exhibition to see and has been extended by a couple of weeks due to popular demand. I would imagine any time of day you go and see this will be busy but it is still worth a visit.
Frida Kahlo, Making Her Self Up @ the V&A South Kensington