This is the only exhibition worldwide where Frida Kahlo’s paintings can be seen in one place. Some paintings, especially from Kahlo’s early years, have never before been seen.
Presented by Global Entertainment Properties 2, LLC, (GEP2) the exhibition features 123 exact replicas of her known paintings in original size and original materials, and hand-painted in the same style in which Kahlo painted them. These replicas are painted by master artists and licensed by ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008.
Also on display are over 500 fascinating possessions— jewelry, dresses and adornments identical to those with which Kahlo surrounded herself. All are handmade using traditional methods, materials, and tools.
There is also a substantial collection of photos of Kahlo, her family, and friends in her work and life environments and a large collection of pre-Colombian through present-day Mexican folk art, which held a position of great importance in her and husband Diego Rivera’s lives. The exhibition was co-curated by passionate art lovers and collectors in Baden-Baden, Germany, the city where Kahlo’s father spent his youth before emigrating to Mexico. Their vision for this exhibition was to not only touch the eyes and minds of the visitors, but above all, their hearts.
A replica is the repetition of the original work either made by the artist or, after the artist’s death, authorized by the holders of the artists’ rights. A replica must represent 100% of the original.
Replicas have a legal connotation (it is authorized) and a quality connotation (it is a faithful repetition of the original). In most countries the artist’s rights expire 70 years after the artist’s death, in the case of Frida: in 2024.
Why show replicas of Kahlo’s work?
Frida painted her life; her paintings are like an autobiography on canvas.
To understand her life, it is essential to be able to see all of her paintings. However, exhibitions with originals by Frida are only able to show a maximum of 40 paintings of an estimated 134 she painted because:
- some of her paintings are in her Blue House in Mexico and are not allowed to leave
- some are privately owned (e.g., Madonna is a Frida Kahlo collector), and some of the owners never lend them for exhibitions
- the rest are scattered around the world.
“The Complete Frida Kahlo” exhibition shows all of her paintings, (123), for which there is a documentation in color; it allows the visitors to follow her entire life, from the very beginning as a hobby-painter to the maturity and to her last works before she died. This is only possible with replicas.
Who painted the replicas?
In some countries in the world, art academies teach art by demanding that the art students copy the masters. China and Japan are among them. This copying of the masters is a way to learn art: by copying the masters over and over again, the students learn not only the masters’ techniques but the spirit behind the creation of the painting as well.
Four Chinese master artists replicated Frida Kahlo in Beijing during 2008 and 2009. They do not copy paintings for a living, they are artists known in Beijing for their own work.
They live and work in the largest artist community in the world: Song Zhuang, one hour east of Beijing. The curators selected Chinese artists because of the disciplined culture of faithfully replicating masters that Chinese artists have during their academic education.
The artists are between 38 and 42 years old with proven outstanding technical and creative skills.
The curators would have loved to have the replicas made in Mexico, which has a long tradition of exceptional art quality, but they worked and lived in Beijing so they selected artists from Beijing. The process of painting replicas requires a daily follow up, monitoring and working very closely together with the artists.
Listen to an interview about the exhibit on KSDS Jazz88 at 88.3 FM.