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Lighthouse ArtSpace Los Angeles, the team behind a dreamy Van Gogh exhibit marking the company’s debut, has unveiled its newest offering to Hollywood’s artistic landscape with Immersive Frida Kahlo. The large-scale exhibit, which has also opened at Lighthouse ArtSpace locations in Dallas, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Denver and Toronto, is 41 minutes of a continuous loop featuring works by Kahlo, the Mexican painter and cultural icon.
“I think that here you are going to see a part of her life — not only Frida the artist, but you’re going to see part of the history, what was happening in that moment,” Mara Kahlo, Kahlo’s great-grandniece, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “You can feel with the music the force of my aunt Frida, and also you can understand better her political ideas; she wanted everybody to be equal.”
The paintings in the multi-sensory exhibit, which appear projected on the walls of two consecutive rooms anchored by an installation of mirrors, include The Two Fridas (1939), The Wounded Deer (1946) and Diego and I (1946). (These popular images also appear on various pieces of merchandise sold in Lighthouse ArtSpace L.A.’s gift shop).
“With the success of Van Gogh, we really wanted the second show coming out of Lighthouse ArtSpace to focus on an incredible female artist. And I think Frida Kahlo is just such an incredible, iconic figure,” Diana Rayzman, exhibit co-founder, tells THR. “She is, at this moment in time, a really great symbol of being able to overcome adversity — both personal adversity, but also turbulent political times. And really, she was a representative of all the underrepresented of her time. And we thought that this was really a perfect time to feature her and present this to the world.”
Kahlo’s art does not animate the space in a fixed and formal way, like in a museum or traditional gallery, but instead is brought to life by GIF-like movements and music, thanks to digital artist Massimilliano Siccardi, composer Luca Longobardi and art director Vittorio Guidotti. “It’s really meant to take the audience on an emotional journey. So it’s not meant to be a narrative mood film, or a linear representation of her life and work,” says Rayzman. “This marriage of both visual and musical elements, I think, evokes a lot of introspection and a lot of emotions that you wouldn’t normally trigger when you’re just looking at art in its traditional form.”
According to Mara De Anda, Mara Kahlo’s daughter: “Frida was not a surrealist; Frida said that she painted her own reality. So the thing for this exhibit is that the big formats are a way of enlarging every detail of her artwork. We can see a lot more.”
Adds Kahlo: “She was a rebel. She was a woman ahead of her time. And I think that seeing the art this way is really revolutionary.”
Los Angeles, known for its rich fine and folk art scenes, is a fitting backdrop for the various paintings — vivid and mystical — supplemented by drawings and photographs of Kahlo’s family.
“Los Angeles has a very big Hispanic community … Frida is everywhere,” says De Anda. “Los Angeles is one of our favorite cities. I think the greatest artists are from Los Angeles.”
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