See Inside the Powerful New Immersive Frida Kahlo Show in Brooklyn That Attempts to Depict What the Artist Could Not

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Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who undeniably has already garnered a cult-like following of loyal fans and admirers over the past several decades, is the latest artist to get the so-called “immersive” treatment in New York.

Notwithstanding the fact that some observers feel as if we are nearing the saturation point with these splashy—and typically pricey—events, this one is a thoughtful, yet fun, and often very trippy deep dive into the artist’s rich life that also had more than its fair share of struggles.

Photo by Eileen Kinsella

Introductory wall texts for “Frida Kahlo Immersive Biography.” Photo by Eileen Kinsella

Unlike other wander-through immersive installations that rely heavily on music and slide projections, this exhibition, staged at a sprawling warehouse in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, uses a wide variety of show platforms to tell Kahlo’s story. After passing through elaborately lit (offerings), flowers, and hanging vines, visitors are greeted with wall texts, written in both English and Spanish, that go deep into the artist’s life. They cover everything from her childhood (including the horrific injuries she sustained in a bus accident that resulted in lifelong consequences) to her development as an artist, wife, and mother, including her often tortured marriage to artist and muralist Diego Rivera, whose career often overshadowed her achievements during their lifetimes.

Installation view of <i>The Accident</i> by Nueveojos & Ideal at Frida Kahlo Immersive Biography. Photo by Eileen Kinsella.

Installation view of The Accident by Nueveojos & Ideal at “Frida Kahlo Immersive Biography”. Photo by Eileen Kinsella.

One holographic, multi-dimensional video installation, , depicts the impact of the bus collision by showing slow-motion abstracted fragments colliding and shattering. Frida herself, who often painted self portraits to tell stories about her life, said she could never depict it because she was unable to reduce it to one image. Noting that she was left with her spinal column broken in three points, a fractured clavicle, broken ribs and other major injuries, the work asks: “How many images are necessary to reflect pain?” according to the wall text accompanying the work.

In all, there are seven different interactive rooms complete with 360-projects, virtual reality experiences, historical photographs, installations, and more. In total, the journey takes about 90 minutes and is appropriate for children and adults alike. One particular VR installation puts the viewer in the famous bed, where Kahlo recovered from her injuries and includes a trippy ride through landscapes that echo her Surrealist paintings and iconic imagery.

Brooklyn is the fifth city to host the show following other stops in the U.S. and Europe. The exhibition will continue on to venues in Latin America next year.

The show gives guests “the opportunity to look beyond the surface of her world-famous artwork and get to know the woman who overcame hardship, created beauty from pain, broke boundaries, and continues to inspire today,” according to a statement from organizers Primo Entertainment and Loud and Live.

Here are a few highlights.

Installation view of "Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography," in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Installation view of “Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography,” in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Image courtesy of The Frida Kahlo Corporation.

Installation view of "Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography," in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Installation view of “Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography,” in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Image courtesy of The Frida Kahlo Corporation.

Installation view of "Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography," in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Installation view of “Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography,” in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Image courtesy of The Frida Kahlo Corporation.

Installation view of "Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography," in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Installation view of “Immersive Frida Kahlo Biography,” in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Image courtesy of The Frida Kahlo Corporation.

Installation view of "Frida Kahlo Immersive Biography," in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Photo by Eileen Kinsella

Installation view of “Frida Kahlo Immersive Biography,” in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Photo by Eileen Kinsella

 

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