The Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s art and turbulent life will be the subject of the new exhibition ‘Frida: Immersive Dream’

The artist, who is without a doubt the world’s most famous female painter, receives the immersive treatment in Toronto.

“Frida: Immersive Dream” will highlight the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo at an exhibition opening next March.

Svetlana Dvoretsky, co-founder of producer Lighthouse Immersive, said in an interview that the Kahlo show is part of a trilogy that Italian digital artist Massimiliano Siccardi envisioned when he started working with the company two years ago on its “Immersive Van Gogh “exhibition.

The Dutch painter van Gogh is the first part; The Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, the subject of “Immersive Klimt: Revolution”, the second and now, Kahlo the third.

“Every artist represents a revolution,” Dvoretsky said.

Van Gogh was a pioneer in the technique of “impasto”, which creates texture by applying paint in thick layers, in his work, while Klimt was part of an avant-garde cultural movement in Vienna.

As for Kahlo, she was a revolutionary as well as revolutionary artist, Dvoretsky said.

“She was fascinated by the Communist Party, by the (Mexican) revolution, by what Lenin and Marx were in favor of at the time; she marched in parades with people who wanted to change the regime and so on and so forth.

“To me, she’s an extraordinary woman.”

She is also popular in terms of famous artists.

This month, a self-portrait of Kahlo, “Diego y yo” or “Diego and I,” showing the artist with a picture of her husband Diego Rivera on her forehead, was sold for $ 34.9 million (US) in a Sotheby’s sale, the most expensive work by a Latin American artist sold at auction.

Kahlo – known for her bold, surrealistic paintings as well as her colorful personal style, including her eyebrows – received Hollywood treatment in 2002, when Salma Hayek starred as her in “Frida,” which won Oscars for best makeup and best original score.

Kahlo and fellow artist Rivera were the subjects of a 2012 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, subtitled “Passion, Politics and Painting,” focusing not only on the couple’s art, but on their roller coaster relationship and their political activism.

Although Rivera was the more famous artist of their lifetime, Kahlo has been honored not only as a painter but as a feminist icon. And as with van Gogh, part of the fascination has to do with the problems she endured when she was alive.

In a 2012 story on the AGO show, the Star reviewer said that Kahlo’s personal genius was to transform “great personal pain – an accident as an 18-year-old that led to lifelong surgery; an abortion and confirmation of infertility at 25; a marriage with Diego is characterized by repeated, mutual infidelity – to a strength that is both unsettling and healing. “

That accident, a bus-street car accident in 1925, left Kahlo with serious injuries that caused lifelong problems but which also marked the beginning of her art when she began producing self-portraits while recovering. She also had part of her right leg amputated later in life due to gangrene, and when she died of a pulmonary embolism in 1954 – just a week after her 47th birthday – there was speculation about an overdose of drugs, either accidental or intentional.

“She was completely full of life, but her life was a very serious mix of pain and love,” Dvoretsky said. “And what she did as an artist, she was very open and honest about everything. She was not politically correct. She was out there. “

Dvoretsky reckons that part of Kahlo’s current fame has to do with growing interest in extraordinary women in general.

“How would it have been hard for her to be next to Diego, someone who was so extraordinarily famous … and she’s just started painting,” Dvoretsky said.

It took so much courage to say, ‘Yes, I’m an artist; yea, I am talented; yea, I am worthy; yes, I can do it ‘… I think it’s extremely inspiring. “

Some of Kahlo’s most famous paintings will be included in “Immersive Dream”, such as “The Two Fridas”, “The Wounded Deer” and “Diego and I”, along with photographs, drawings and excerpts from documentaries about her.

As with “Immersive Van Gogh,” the Kahlo show will feature animated projections by Siccardi and a musical score by Luca Longobardi, though Lighthouse Immersives co-founder Corey Ross said Kahlo’s works will be presented “in a format very different from it” ( Siccardi)) used to study Van Gogh and Klimts. “

Lighthouse Immersive is a pioneer in this style of entertainment in Toronto, after opening “Immersive Van Gogh” in July 2020 in what used to be the Toronto Stars’ printing house at 1 Yonge St. That show, which has sold more than four million tickets here, has since expanded to 19 U.S. cities.

The company’s five-story area of ​​Toronto is now home to four exhibitions, including “Immersive Klimt: Revolution”, “Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle” and the dance show “Touch”, choreographed by Guillaume Côté.

“Frida: Immersive Dream” opens March 31 at the Lighthouse Immersive Gallery at 1 Yonge St. Tickets go on sale November 30 at. 10 at immersive-frida.com

Debra Yeo is the deputy editor and contributor to the Star’s Entertainment section. She is based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @realityeo

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