I, alongside the rest of the world, have fallen in love with the women who grew up in a bright blue house near Mexico city – despite almost not growing up at all – to be one of the most famous painters in the twentieth century. Her self-portraits made her into an iconic figure, becoming the embodiment of the female condition but also a globally recognised representation of her homeland. All of which was beautifully depicted through six rooms, each a different colour, at the Hungarian National Gallery Frida Kahlo exhibition.
When Kahlo was just six years old, she nearly died from polio, which left her with a permanent limp. Then when she was eighteen, she was involved in a terrible bus accident – where she almost died again – and was left hospitalized. In an attempt to distract her, her mother made her a special easel so she could paint whilst lying down. Hundreds of paintings later, the bright blue house where she lived has been kept just as she left it, full of colour, joy and flowers. Proving that no obstacle is insurmountable, gender does not define how big a person can dream and that beauty manifests itself in all shapes, colours and ages.
At the very beginning, the exhibition immediately introduces you to one of her masterpieces, an unsettling painting called The Broken Column, that speaks of her lifelong suffering. The realistic and direct tone of her paintings, stripped of anything superfluous and unsparingly honest, demonstrates how Kahlo sought answers to the most fundamental questions of human existence through art. In fact, her life and art were so inextricably linked, that viewing her paintings almost feels like an intrusion into her personal life and there is much to know.