Photographer Olga Gasnier
This autumn, the Palais Galliera celebrates Frida Kahlo (6 July 1907-13 July 1954), one of the most widely recognised and influential artists of the 20th century.
Getting away from the clichés attached to her personality, the exhibition Frida Kahlo, au-delà des apparences [Frida Kahlo, Beyond Appearances] invites visitors to explore the private side of the artist’s life, and to understand how she constructed her identity through the way she presented and represented herself.
For the first time in France and in close collaboration with the Museo Frida Kahlo, the exhibition features more than 200 objects from the Casa Azul, the house where Frida was born and brought up, including garments, accessories, correspondence, cosmetics, medicines and orthopaedic aids. When the artist died in 1954, these personal effects were placed under seal by her husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, and were not discovered until fifty years later, in 2004.
This precious collection – which includes traditional Tehuana dresses, pre-Columbian necklaces that Frida used to collect, and hand-painted corsets and prosthetics – is presented, along with films and photographs of the artist, to form a visual narrative of her extraordinary life.
Frida Kahlo used her appearance as a means of expressing her doubts and feelings about herself and her politics: after a serious accident at the age of 18, Frida devoted herself to painting. She adopted traditional clothing, which was a statement of her Mexican identity, but also a way of coping more comfortably with her disability. The exhibition Frida Kahlo, au-delà des apparences traces how the artist cultivated her image. An image that amounted almost to a manifesto reflecting her cultural heritage, but also her experience of gender and of living with a disability.
In an exhibition that is both biographical and thematic, the Palais Galliera looks at the artist’s visit to Paris and her relationship with the Surrealist group.
The visit continues with a capsule exhibition from 15 September to 31 December 2022, which considers Frida Kahlo’s influence on contemporary fashion and how she has remained an icon and source of inspiration for designers such as Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld for CHANEL, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior or Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons.
Circe Henestrosa, curator and designer of the exhibition, Head of the School of Fashion, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera
Gannit Ankori, Advising Curator, PhD, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, Rose Art Museum, USA
Official press release by the Palais Galliera