Before I go to any show or exhibition I try not to read any reviews or information about it, to enable me to form a completely unbiased opinion of what I see and feel. Going a few weeks after the launch of the exhibition meant that I had to work hard to keep my ears and eyes closed!
Frida Kahlo is well known as an artist with a difficult past, one filled with pain and deep despair and anguish. What I had not prepared myself for, was that the exhibition laid out her life story with all her pain and agony for all to see.
It was really tough, I wont lie, to be able to hold the tears back on witnessing some of the items on show. The corsets gave me the biggest lump in my throat.
I read a review by the Guardian on the exhibition (click here for the full article) In it the writer Jonathan Jones states "This exhibition overwhelms Kahlo’s living legacy with its excessive adoration of a dead woman’s stuff." Now I am not often one for controversy, but I immensely disagree with this comment. The simple fact it, each piece of art is created by an artist, expressing their life, experiences and opinions with a canvas and the medium they choose. Without the artist what value does the art have? The V&A as an establishment focus on the form, the materials, the techniques and the story behind each piece that they display. Surely it would be a dishonour to give Frida Kahlo the same respect?
As an artist Frida Kahlo expressed her feelings through her art. The reason she focused on self portraits was that she was bed bound for a lot of time and had "no company but herself". Even when she was unable to stand, was braced in a position unable to move at all, she used a mirror to paint her corset. Art was her escape from her pain. Without knowing her story, I personally don't believe anyone is able to appreciate her work in the same way. In fact this goes for every artist. The main reason I launched the Blue Feather Design Art Platform, was to enable my clients to understand and know the artist they were buying from. Relate to their background, their story and then fall in love with their work. If you haven't already please do take a look at the amazing artists I have on board here.
Her endurance, gratitude and sheer strength, despite all that she faced during her life is a huge inspiration to me and for so many other women I am sure. This most talked about exhibition is on at the V&A until 4th November 2018. If you have not been yet I would urge you to make time to see it.