This vibrant online tour of this major exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the artist’s world and how she constructed her identity.

(c)Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Although we haven’t been able to travel in the last year, it is wonderful to see how museums and galleries from around the world have been sharing all kinds of resources to allow people around the world to catch a glimpse at some major exhibitions.

This latest major exhibition exploring the world of Frida Kahlo is on display at the Fine Arts Museums San Francisco’s De Young museum brings together an immense collection of personal outfits, photographs and other objects as well as her own work to provide a very personal glimpse at the artist.

All of the items on display in the exhibition were discovered in 2004 at her lifelong home, La Casa Azul (now Museo Frida Kahlo) in Mexico City – a place that had not been reopened until 50 years after she passed away. Carefully curated, it is clear to see (even in this 18 minute tour) that this exhibition really goes into depth with regards to how her experiences of suffering from Polio and then recovering from a horrific bus accident that caused her a lot of pain for the rest of her life. It includes plaster casts that she used to wear to help support her back as well as a boot she would wear to support her leg – but it is made immensely clear throughout this display she didn’t hide from pain she accepted it and used it to shape who she became.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is a real treasure trove of objects that provide tantalising glimpses of who she was as a person and how she built up her identity. In particular, her self-portraits and style of dressing are very distinctive and are part of the reason why her work continues to be a source of fascination. The vibrancy of the outfits on display that she used to hide her leg that was affected badly by the polio is extraordinary, while one particular drawing highlights her pain and injury vividly.

Throughout it all, the narration provided by the curators is to the point and consistently interesting, working well with Benjamin Michel’s sleek filming skills that really enhance the experience of seeing the display at a distance. It makes you feel as though you are there. In particular, I loved the way in which certain images were subtly brought to life to take the viewer even deeper into the painting.

It is very clear that this is an exhibition that has been respectfully put together, with a huge amount of research that has gone into piecing her life together. Those who have put it together clearly admire the artist very much and have succeeded in showing just what a strong and independent woman she was. This is an online tour worth catching for those who like me are unable to experience it in person.

By Emma Clarendon

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is available to view in an online tour here. To find out more about the exhibition visit: https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/frida-kahlo

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐