A few weeks ago I was lucky to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. Here I discovered the world of Frida and Diego, their home, their collections of art and trinkets, and the incredible artwork they both produced.
It was timely that on the same day I queued outside the vibrant blue La Casa Azul I received an invite to the new London exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up. In this show the V&A focusses on Frida’s personal life, displaying previously unseen photographs, her colourful dresses & shawls and a few artworks. Until 2004 Frida Kahlo’s personal belongings were locked away behind her bathroom door, concealed from the world, this is their first outing outside of Mexico.
Frida Kahlo, died aged 47 in 1954. She lived a courageous and passionate live… she survived a bout of Polio as a child and then, when she was 18, was left disabled after a bad bus crash. In this tightly packed exhibition visitors can observe the corsets and body casts, prosthetic leg and medication that was so much part of her every day life. It is a strangely intimate examination of the private struggle with pain and disability that she endured on a daily basis. In the final room her extensive dress collection is on display… here we see the traditional costumes she used to distract away from her ailments. They are iconic and stylish, a presentation of maximalism, which happens to be very current and on trend.
Aside from the relics and artefacts there are a few special paintings and photographs to admire. Bizarrely Frida’s bold paintings seem to be a bit of an afterthought in this exhibition, hung on the wall behind the memorabilia in cabinets, which takes centre stage. After the accident Frida turned to painting to save her from her agony, and creating art was something she continued to relish throughout her short life. Some paintings stick in your mind long after leaving the V&A, I kept remembering ‘Self Portrait as a Tehuana’; a solemn painting where Frida has painted her face encased in a flower-like headdress. There are also some beautiful photographs on display, which offer an insight into she admiration she felt for her photographer father and the adoration of Diego Riviera, her unfaithful husband.
Frida fanatics will delight in this colourful and characterful exhibition, but art fans may feel cheated to not see more of Frida Kahlo’s amazing artistic brilliance.
Continues until Sunday 4 November, book tickets here.
St Desideratus – May 8th
Little saints live within the fine branches of certain bushes. They are released by cutting away everything that is not them.
St Eugene – July 13th
These emaciated little figures demonstrate the saintly characteristics of self-denial and humility. They twist and gesticulate, openly expressing their agony or their ecstasy. Their fragility may withstand hardship and torture but in the end they can be so easily crushed, martyred.
A week of August saints
Every day of the year certain saints are commemorated. Commonly it is their birth into heaven, the day of their death on earth, which is celebrated.
St Cajetan – August 7th
I am presenting every day a unique, named little twig saint. To accompany each one, I am writing a brief life-story pieced together from many sources – biographers, historians and holy texts.
St Cyriacus – August 8th
Each morning this Saint of the Day appears on Instagram, the little person and their story.
I am placing many of my twig saints in little boxes, something like relics. The evidence of carefully preserved relics in a large number of churches proves the miraculous existence of many saints, rather like a preserved narwhal’s horn proves the existence of a unicorn.
You can follow on Instagram: @twigsaints to receive their daily visits.
By Chris Kenny. See more of the artists work here.
On 17th May sketch in Mayfair launched the second edition of its Mayfair Flower Show, presenting the most whimsical garden outside of Chelsea, right in the heart of London.
In homage to the annual RHS flower show, sketch presents the second edition of the Mayfair Flower Show with Diptyque and Pommery. Running concurrently to the Chelsea event from 17th to 29th May, this year’s exhibition has transformed No.9 Conduit Street into an oasis of colour and scent, with immersive gardens by five of London’s leading florists.
Each ‘garden’ celebrates the British Landscape with bold designs and explores their personal relationship with sketch whilst showcasing their craft, passion and dedication to the environment. Within the sketch building there are large scale installations by some of London’s leading florists, including Rebel Rebel, Tony Marklew, Carly Rogers, Figa and Co and JamJar. Each florist has created an immersive garden, installed throughout the interiors and facade of the former Dior atelier on Conduit Street.
To compliment the exhibition, the legendary French perfume house Diptyque has paired the rich scents of the flora throughout the restaurant with its much-loved Cypres blend. Warm tints of honey and resin create a fragrance that is both green and woody, like the freshly crushed needles from the cypress tree. For a fully immersive experience sketch has created a cocktail inspired by Cypres, a fresh, green and woody serve, aptly named Pique-a-Pine (Plymouth Gin, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, Green Chartreuse, Skinos Mastikha, Aromatic Tonic, Cypress Mist, £17).
To celebrate proceedings, award-winning milliner Piers Atkinson has created a line of bespoke floral headpieces, to be worn by front of house ambassadors throughout the show.
More information here.