Tag: victoria and albert museum (page 1 of 1)

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Frida on White Bench, Nickolas Muray, 1939

A few months ago, Mr. Michie surprised me with tickets to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up. She has long been one of my favourite artists and someone that I feel an unexplainable deep connection to. Our tickets were for an early morning entry, which was perfect. It was busy, but not too busy; so you had the luxury of lingering over a piece without the worry you were in someone else’s way.

The show was beautifully presented and laid out in manner that represented and reflected significant stages in her life. There were photographs taken by her father I had never seen before as well as some of her earlier sketches and drawings. There was film footage of her and Diego Rivera at their home, La Casa Azul in Mexico. The Kodachrome colours of the film gave it such a vibrant and dreamy hue.

Upon Kahlo’s death in 1954, her husband placed many of her personal belongings inside a bathroom in their home and locked them away. La Casa Azul later became a museum to Kahlo’s life. Shortly before his death in 1957, Rivera made a request to a close friend, Dolores Olmedo, that this room containing Kahlo’s intimate belongings should remain locked for the next fifteen years. Olmedo, seriously took Diego Rivera’s request to heart and decided to keep the room sealed until her death in 2002. It was only after Dolores Olmedo’s death that the museum was able to gain access to the sealed bathroom and then began the process of cataloguing the hundreds of items that had been placed within those walls and frozen in time. As a curator and art historian, that would have been a dream job to have been a part of.

As you moved into the last two rooms of the exhibition, her personal possessions were front and center. The six cases that held some of her most intimate things were laid out in two rows of three. It gave the impression of being within a dormitory as the display cases themselves were beds; replicas of her bed. The irony was not lost on me that her bed was a place that she spent a good deal of time within due to her injuries and multiple surgeries and now her possessions were laid out on a “mattress” between the four posters of these faux beds. The outer walls of this room were lined with photographs and personal letters.

Left: Prosthetic leg with leather boot, 1953 – 4, Mexico. Right: Plaster corset, about 1954, Mexico. Photographs by Javier Hinojosa. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums. Museo Frida Kahlo.

Compact and powderpuff with blusher in ‘Clear Red’; Seal-fast nail varnish top coat; Lastron nail varnishes in ‘Frosted Snow Pink’ and ‘Frosted Pink Lightening’; lipstick in ‘Everything’s Rosy’. Photograph by Javier Hinojosa. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums. Museo Frida Kahlo.

Just to name a few things, displayed within those cases were her Revlon nail polish bottles, lipstick, sunglasses, Pond’s cold cream, shoes, her plaster corsets that she painted, her prosthetic leg, crutches, and perfume bottles. It was extraordinary to me that these things still existed and the condition they were in, was astounding! If you are very, very lucky an artist’s palette or a few bits of paint that they used might still exist, but never in my wildest dreams would I imagine someone’s make-up still being in existence.

The final room of the exhibition contained a huge case in the center of the room, displaying her clothes, with self-portraits, jewellery and other objects along the outer walls. To see so many items of her clothing in person that she had been photographed wearing was phenomenal. To have stared at photographs of her for most of my life and then to see that very outfit in front of my eyes was almost beyond belief.

One thing that struck me in this room was a necklace that had been created out of different sized pieces of jade. At the center hung a carved jade hand that was formed into a fist. It was quite large and I wondered if the weight of that around her neck ever bothered her? Anything that would have put pressure on her spine must have been uncomfortable, but yet she wore the necklace any way.

In a way she curated her own life and her pain through not only her artwork, but her clothing. Each item carefully chosen, colourful lipstick and nail polish carefully applied. Her hair braided in a very specific way with ribbons worked into it. There was an intimacy to this show, it almost bordered at times on being too intimate, like I had snuck into a place I shouldn’t be and opened the dresser drawers and rifled through them. It was an incredibly unique perspective on a woman that I have long admired and in a strange way, seeing so many of her personal belongings almost made her more mythical than not.

*As I enter exhibitions it is sometimes difficult to take off my curator/art historian “hat”, in the back of my mind I’m always considering the layout, I watch how others interact with the displays, or move around the exhibition, I pay attention to signage and font usage… One thing I was fascinated by within this show were the mannequins that were dressed with her clothes. The video below is a captivating look into how the V&A created them. Enjoy!

Hello, Friday!

“Hello, Friday! We’ve been waiting on you all week!”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been waiting for Friday all week! This week has been a roller coaster, but we’ve marched on.

Mr. Michie surprised me ages ago with tickets to see an exhibition of one of my favourite artists, Frida Kahlo. There is an exhibition at the V&A of her personal things. So that’s on the weekend agenda as well as cooking together, listening to music, enjoying the sunshine and soaking up life.

I hope you have a wonderful Friday, wherever you may be today! 

{Image FOUND //  Pinned HERE}

Goose Girl & Foxy’s London Day Out

We decided to go into London this week and since Goose Girl and Foxy had a bit of cabin fever they begged us to take them with us. So off we all went on a little day adventure.

After lunch, our first stop was the Natural History Museum. We haven’t been to the gardens since the Summer and decided to check on the ducks and see what the bees were up to in their tree hideout. Unfortunately, the garden does not open until April. Foxy was especially disappointed about this, as he wanted to run around the meadow.

“Don’t worry”, we said, “we will bring you back when it opens!” Even though it was closed, they still wanted their picture taken by the fence. After, snapping some photos of them and peering through the gate to see if we saw anything interesting moving about, we headed off to the V&A to see Mat Collishaw’s “Magic Lantern”. The idea being that of “moths to a flame”. With the aide of a zoetrope they appear to be flying around the cupola of the V&A. They will be flittering around for the next month or so from dusk till dawn.

There was a model of it, set up in the gardens, so you can see what it looks like any time of day. After watching it spin a few times we sat by the fountain for a few moments, and decided to head off to the Renaissance galleries. I had the chance to see some fantastic architectural pieces, I had not seen before, the V&A never ceases to amaze me!

We headed up to the Theatre area and had the opportunity to watch conservators working on a hanging tapestry that was going on loan to an exhibition. It was beautiful to watch them work. We stayed till dusk to see the real lantern light up, but it was very hard to see, no matter how far back we were from the museum.  After a day of trooping around, a much needed dinner was in order, so off to one of our favorite haunts we went: Wahaca!

Dinner, as always was divine. Goose Girl & Foxy were very tired from the day and said they didn’t even want to come out of my purse for dessert. Although, Foxy said the toasted sunflower seeds on my vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, smelled delicious (he licked the salt off my fingers later). Goose Girl, was much more interested in Mr. Michie’s churros with a chocolate sauce to dip them in, she decided she would sneak out after all, for a little nibble. She was too quick for us to get her picture though!

We all headed home exhausted, but very happy after having spent a wonderful day together!

A Birthday Trip Out

Well, I am ashamed to say that my Birthday Post has taken me so long to write. I did give you a hint of what was to come and that I did get the lovely turqouise shoes I wanted! But, I have yet to write any more and there is so much to say.

I have lived in London for a number years and I know some of its secrets, but not all. I love when I have gone somewhere that I have been a thousand times, but yet I discover a secret I did not know it held. Our secret discovery came in the form of a secret garden.

We went to the Natural History Museum in search of Phoolan, alas she was no longer there. In our hunt for her we wandered onto a side of the Museum that I have never wandered to. It is there that a wildlife garden exists behind an iron gate. Next to the entrance of the gate stood a majestic bronze fountain.

Inside those gates held a wild meadow, a little stream, an impressive bee hive in the hollow of a tree. It was a little oasis in the middle of London. You completely forget where you were, watching the little ducklings following there Mama, with reeds and lilies surrounding you.

From there we walked across the street to I think my most favorite Museum, The V&A. The Grace Kelly Exhibition was sold out for the day, so that will be a Birthday treat yet to come, but we did manage to get into the Quilt Exhibition.

The Quilt Exhibition was amazing. The quality and workmanship in the quilts was awe-inspiring. It was very interesting, to me, to walk through the gallery and see these pieces objectified and paid homage too. It is a fine line we walk with Art. I have two quilts in my possession, both from the 1800’s American Mid-West and I use them, they are lovingly looked after, but they are used. I stared at some of the quilts on “bed-frames” or hung on the wall, being revered, dated to around the same period of my own, never to be used again, which is against the reason they were created for in the first place. A little dichotomy that I find intriguing.

There is such a hidden story to tell with quilts: How many hands touched it? Who made it and who was it made for? How long did it take to create, to save the fabric scraps? This was a wonderfully put together show as far as the pices went, there were a few I would have loved to have seen in more detail, but the bed frames they lay upon made it impossible. There are a few quilts I would have gladly liked to have called my own as well, like this one:

The scalloped edges and the detail in her work was so intricately beauitul.  It was enough for me to have just seen seen the exhibition but a few surprises were put into my hands, and one of them was this:

Created by the artist who designed the quilt featured on the exhibition poster. We were able to see the real quilt piece this was made from and I think it is such a cool way to tie everything in. I love when you see thought has gone into something in the exhibition store. That a fabric “poster” was available to tie-in with the fabric in the show.

I was disappointed to not get to see Grace Kelly as well, but in retrospect, I think we were being very ambitious, we were in the Quilt Exhibition for over 3 hours and after that, we needed a visual break, I would have hated to go through Grace Kelly and not have enjoyed it because I wasn’t taking in and absorbing everything that I possibly could have.

After the V&A we wandered down to do a little shopping and thus a new pair of Birthday shoes jumped into my hands. For dinner we went to one of my favorite places. It is my own Luke’s Diner (if you watch the Gilmore Girls, you will know what I am talking about). It is not as bright and cozy as Luke’s, but is is a happening little dive.

After dinner, we strolled to Liberty’s and Snog had set up a mini store inside. I walked out with a delicious frozen yoghurt covered in chocolate and fresh summer berries. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

(Quilt Exhibition Fabric Banner created by: Natasha Kerr, Quilt images copyright the V&A)

New Shoes

“Hey, I put my new shoes on today and suddenly every-things right!”

That is the song that played in my head this morning as I put my new shoes on! My crystal ball was correct, they did jump onto my feet yesterday afternoon after a glorious day wandering around the Quilt exhibition!

I have so much to share, but for now, I am off to bed, the rain outside is lulling me to sleep on this lazy-dazy Sunday evening!

Let the Weekend Begin

We are kicking off the weekend with a bang tomorrow and I can’t wait! Next week is my Birthday and we are starting the celebrations this Saturday. In our house Birthday celebrations are not limited to just the actual day, they are an ongoing feast of little surprises. So, tomorrow I am being whisked away to one of my favorite museums, the V&A to see the Grace Kelly:Style Icon exhibition and the Quilt Exhibition.

Then off somewhere fun for lunch and a bit of shopping in the afternoon. I am looking at my crystal ball and I see a trip to Anthropologie in my future! I am gazing harder into my ball now and if I am lucky I see these jumping onto my feet:

My pink pair are sorely in need of a break and I love the bright happy color of these. So, the house has been cleaned this morning and made ready for the weekend, the only thing to do now is sit back and enjoy the ride….Hope all of you have a wonderful happy filled weekend too!