There’s a new way to experience the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Art lovers making a pilgrimage to her hometown of Mexico City, where she lived at La Casa Azul with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, can now add a second stop to their itinerary: “Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva.”
That’s right, Kahlo, perhaps the world’s most famous woman artist, has gotten the “Immersive Van Gogh” treatment, with a 35-minute projected light show that animates 26 of the artist’s works in larger-than-life fashion. Because Kahlo specialized in self-portraits, the experience is something of an immersive autobiography, telling the story of her struggles with illness and disability, as well as her unconventional and often fraught romance with Rivera.
The exhibition is a way “to get to know Frida’s paintings, which have been around the world, but with a little bit of familiarity and intimacy,” the artist’s great-grandniece Mara de Anda told Agence France Presse. “I believe that Frida was very avant-garde and modern so this fits perfectly. She was a woman ahead of her time.”
But while the show does have the Kahlo family’s stamp of approval, it is also is a corporate affair, presented by the National Bank of Mexico Citibanamex and OCESA, a Mexican concert promotion company. The show was produced by Iñaki Barcos Melga and features visuals by Mexican multimedia experience company Cocolab, which bills itself as working at the intersection of art, technology, and entertainment.
“FRIDA is an immersive, multi-sensory experience that takes the work of artist Frida Kahlo and presents it on a monumental scale accompanied by music, scenography, sculpture, interaction, and digital animation,” Cocolab said on its website.
The experience opened on July 6, to coincide what would have been the artist’s 114th birthday. It’s on view at Fronton Mexico, an entertainment venue housed in an Art Deco building.
Two-and-a-half years in the making, the experience features famous Kahlo paintings such as The Two Fridas, Girl with a Death Mask, Me and My Parrots, and The Broken Column, Mexican music, and narration drawn from the artist’s letters and diaries. It uses 90 projectors and 50 speakers to present a 360-degree vision of Kahlo’s life and career.
There is also an interactive “Free Stroke” installation where visitors can draw digitally, and a “Fantastic Creatures” room where they can chose the figures in Kahlo’s artwork that best represents them.
“You can also listen to the music she listened to, you can see details of her work, [and] you can also find out family secrets,” Frida Hentschel Romero, another great-grandniece, told Reuters, calling the experience “very different from what we have seen [before].”
Tickets range from MX$280 ($14) to MX$369 ($18).
See more images of the installation below.
“Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva” is on view at Frontón México, De La República 17, Tabacalera, 06030 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico, July 6–September 30, 2021.