Eleven of the Forty Fridas are currently on view at the V&A in London as part of the Facing History exhibit curated by Gill Saunders. The show displays 80 prints and photographs from the museum’s collection that “explore a variety of artists’ responses to the idea of portraiture over the last 20 years.”
The Guardian review picks up on my abiding interest in games
Yet portraiture is also a masquerade, a game. Artists have been playing with poses ever since the Renaissance. Today Cindy Sherman does it, as does Ellen Heck, who in her coloured woodcuts gets her friends to pose as Frida Kahlo. They all become Frida for a day. But who is Frida? She herself joins in the game, posing as Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, who now sports that unmistakable thick monobrow.
Portraiture, when you start enjoying its formality and its awkwardness, turns out to be an art of infinite possibility. This a pleasing glimpse of the past’s future.
Gill Saunders, Senior Curator of Prints, writes more about her interest in the Fridas for this show in Art in Print. She will be giving a Lunchtime Lecture about Facing History on March 2, 2016. Many thanks to Jenny Robinson for taking these installation shots.
What: Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture
Where: Victoria & Albert Museum, London
When: July 27, 2015 – April 24, 2016
Ambiance: to steal the Guardian’s last line – a pleasing glimpse of the past’s future