The Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum is the best I have seen this year. She was a Mexican artist whose work is described as Surrealist. She had lots of health problems and was married to the artist Diego Rivero who beat her up. The Mexican culture and her life experiences are all depicted in her paintings, many of which are self portraits.
She was born in Mexico in 1907 and suffered from polio when she was a child. Her ambition to go to become a doctor was cut short at the age of 18 when she involved in an accident and broke her pelvis, her legs and several ribs which left her in pain for the rest of her life so she took up painting instead and worked briefly as a teacher.
In 1928 she married mural artist Diego Rivera who was 20 years her senior, had been married twice before and was fat and ugly. They both had relationships with other people, divorced but Frida described Diego as the love of her life so they re-married. Her health problems in later life left her wheelchair bound and bedridden and she died in Mexico at the age of 47 in 1954. Her belongings were hidden for 50 years until they were found and put on display.
The exhibition itself:
I was very impressed with her paintings in the exhibition, especially A Few Small Nips where she is lying naked on a bed covered in blood after Diego beat her up, and The Broken Column which shows her fragile body held together with one of the many corsets she wore. There are also lots of self portraits showing her dressed in colourful Mexican costume with lots of jewellery. She also has distinctive eyebrows and a faint moustache. The moustache isn’t very noticeable in photos of her but is in her paintings.
As well as her paintings, the other exhibits include lots of family photos, her dresses and jewellery, letters and also a film of her house in Mexico which is now the Frida Kahlo museum.
The full title of the exhibition is Frida Kahlo – Making Her Self Up and it is on at The Victoria and Albert Museum. It has been so popular they extended the closing date to 18 November 2018. Tickets are like gold dust and the only time we were able to buy them for was 8 am on a Sunday morning. The staff told us the museum had been open for 48 hours that weekend and many people had come in the middle of the night. It’s the first time I’ve known this to happen so it was an interesting experience which we got a lot out of.
A few touristy details:
The Victoria and Albert Museum is in Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, a few minutes walk from South Kensington tube station. Nearby are the Natural History Museum, Brompton Oratory and the Science Museum. When you’ve had enough of art and culture you can go for a walk nearby in Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, which is what we did. It was a good day out.
And finally… see below for more ideas on days out ….