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Frida Kahlo's Locked Up Wardrobe


Written by Jack Blocker
07 Thursday 07th May 2015

There are few who would struggle to picture the face of Frida Kahlo. Although it's a bit juvenile of me to say, the mere mention of the word 'monobrow' can probably materialise the work of the artist, as well as the iconic blue house that she shared with her husband, Diego Rivera, in most minds. Perhaps you even know of her close friendship with Trotsky, or that Salma Hayek portrayed her in a decent biopic in 2002.

What you might not know - and by that I mean I didn't know, and am therefore presumptively assuming most don't know - was that Frida spent most of her life in severe amounts of pain. This was due to her involvement in a horrific bus crash, which shattered the artist's body in manner of unthinkable ways. As well as a vibrant reflection of the heritage and history that formed her style, many of her garments effectively stabilised her fragile structure.

When she died in 1954, Rivera locked her wardrobe in a bathroom and demanded it stay there until 15 years after her death. It wasn't opened until 2004, when the photographer Ishiuchi Miyako took a series of portraits of her most distinct clothes.

The series details a life of art, heritage and politics, and it's going on display at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London, SW3, from 14 May to 12 July.

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