Did Frida imagine, when she painted small self-portraits from her convalescent bed, that she would become one of the most influential artists of all time? Even among those who are not fond of painting and art, the name of Frida Kahlo evokes an avalanche of intense emotions, of passion, rebellion, talent and originality. She is in herself an icon that transcends her work. .
A new example of this is the immersive exhibition that since December 2021 can be seen at the Centre d’Arts Digitals IDEAL in Barcelona, “Frida Kahlo, the Life of an Icon”, a project by Layers of Reality, Minoria Absoluta and MagmaCultura. This exhibition focuses on a biography of the artist, reproducing the most relevant moments of her life that marked the evolution of her pictorial work so significantly.
Throughout the exhibition, documents, original films, digital montages, historical photographs and objects from her daily lives can be seen, allowing visitors to experience the personal story behind the myth. Among these objects is a selection of Frida Kahlo’s dresses, many of which are inspired by Mexican culture, and which are exhibited in paper pulp busts that we produce at Pasqual Arnella.
For Frida, clothing was a way not only to define herself, but to vindicate herself. A clear example of this are the Tehuantepec dresses, typical of the matriarchal society of this Mexican region, which connect it not only with traditional culture, but also with a social structure where women play the key role.
Also on display are the corsets and long dresses that helped her hide the consequences of both the polio she suffered as a child and the accident that at age 18 left her bedridden for long periods of time.
Both the choice of traditional dresses linked to Mexican matriarchal societies and the masculine suits she wore on other occasions have led her to become a feminist icon in recent years. In any case, what is clear is that this is a woman who wanted to define herself in her own terms.
At Pasqual Arnella we wanted Frida Kahlo’s dresses, which played such a significant part in her identity, to be shown on mannequins aligned with her style. To do this, we used busts from the model Shasta painted in matte black, as well as the bust of a child aged 4-6 years for her childhood dresses.
These mannequins are made from 100% recycled and sustainable paper pulp, and have been designed and manufactured in Barcelona. It is a sober, elegant design, with a slightly rough finish that gives it a natural, handcrafted look. The matte black finish of all the busts manages to highlight even more the intense colours characteristic of Frida Kahlo’s designs.
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