Last November, my daughter and I went to see the “Mexique” exhibition at the Gran Palais. Here is the long overdue publication of my related notes:

Pont Alexandre III  is the most ornate and grandiose bridge in Paris. Named after Tsar Alexander III, the bridge commemorates the alliance established between Russia and the Third Republic in 1892. And, with its view of the Eiffel Tower, it’s an often used location for wedding picture and tourists’ selfies.  Crossing the bridge is like taking a stroll in an en plein air museum as the bridge is full of sculptures—cherubs, lions, seashells, monsters and much more. Built for the city’s World Fair in 1900, the bridge links the Hôtel des Invalides  with the Petit and the Grand Palais.

Pont Alexandre III

The Gran Palais hosts a number of exhibitions every year such as “Mexique” dedicated to Mexican art from 1900-1050. Naturally, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were the main attractors but there were, aside from Orozco and Siqueiros,  many “minor” artists of interests such as José Guadalupe Posada, Julio Ruelas, Roberto Montenegro, Ángel Zárraga and Carlos Mérida.

Some of the women included in the exhibition:

Tina Modotti photographed Frida and mujeres indigentes

Lola Alvarez Bravo photographed Frida and Mexican culture

Maria Izquierdo painted self-portraits and Sueño y presentimien

Lola Cueto made puppets and papel picado embroidery

Olga Costa painted fruit and people

Nahui Olin was a model, painter, and poet

Rosa Rolanda was a neo-figurative painter

English-Mexican Leonora Carrington was a surrealist painter

Alice Rahon was fascinated by Frida

Bibliography: The Human Tradition in Mexico  byi Jeffrey M. Pilcher

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Frida Kahlo & Miyako Ishiuchi

Japanese artist Miyako Ishiuchi takes photographs of clothes.  She began doing so after her mother died. Miyako’s mother had a strong personality and lived in a time that went through numerous metamorphoses. By photographing her mother’s intimate effects such as lingerie, shoes and cosmetics, Miyako examined the memory she had of her mother. Because clothes give us an identity.

Frida Kahlo's Clothes by Ishiuchi Miyako

A few years after photographing her mother’s belongings, Miyako began a new project: Yokosuka Story.  She started photographing the personal objects of those who’d lost their lives in the American bombing of Hiroshima treating the objects just like a saint’s relics. Thus the victims are seen as martyrs. Objects like combs, watches, and shoes are the only things left of a life obliterated by a bomb.

Frida Kahlo's Clothes by Ishiuchi Miyako

After Frida’s death, Diego Rivera had her wardrobe with all her personal belongings locked up. It was kept this way for 15 years after his death.  But it wasn’t until 2011 that the contents of the wardrobe were photographed. And it was Miyako Ishiuchi who was selected as photographer photographing the clothes was like photographing a person.

Frida Kahlo's Clothes by Ishiuchi Miyako


“If I met her, I wouldn’t ask any questions. I would only want to stare at her and touch her body.” Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyakois talking about Frida Kahlo.

Miyako Ishiuchi and Frida Kahlo

Miyako Ishiuchi and Frida Kahlo

Frida by Ishiuchi. Ishiuchi, Miyako; Trujillo, Hilda; Ankori, Gannit; Henestrosa, Circe. Museo Frida Kahlo. Mexico City. 2014.

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