Room Guide

Frida Kahlo in 1926

Frida Kahlo in 1926.

 Photo: Guillermo Kahlo. Courtesy of Isolda Kahlo

Who was Frida Kahlo? 51 years after her death, there are as many answers to the question as there are audiences to ask it. Kahlo is variously enshrined in the popular imagination as a bohemian artist, a victim turned survivor, proto-feminist, sexual adventurer who challenged gender boundaries, and, with her mixed-race parentage, an embodiment of a hybrid, postcolonial world.

Indeed, Kahlo’s position as a globally recognised cult figure has become so powerful that at times it threatens to overshadow her art. First and foremost, Frida Kahlo was a painter, and for this reason Tate Modern’s exhibition focuses upon the frank testimony of the paintings themselves.

Between 1926, when she made her first self-portrait, and her death in 1954, Kahlo produced around 200 images. Certainly the biographical details of her remarkable life inflect many aspects of her work, yet her depiction of her body and experiences can also be seen as a response to wider cultural and political debates. For all their apparent naivety, her works frequently reveal an incendiary subtext, whether they are questioning power relationships between developed and developing nations, testing the role of women within a patriarchal society, or attempting to reconcile the global histories and religions of East and West.

Room 1: Genealogy

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 2: Early works

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 3: Watercolours and Drawings

Frida Kahlo at Tate modern exhibition room guide

Room 4: Birth and Death

Frida Kahlo: Room Guide: Room 4 : past Tate Modern exhibition

Room 5: National Identities

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 6: Drawings

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 7: Still-Lifes

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 8: The Two Fridas

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 9: Self-Portraits

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 10: Friends and Patrons

Frida Kahlo, 2005 major exhibition at Tate Modern; room guide

Room 11: Achieving Equilibrium

Frida Kahlo: Room Guide: Room 11: past Tate Modern exhibition

See also

Download

Frida Kahlo teachers' pack

Activity pack for teachers with information about key art works by Frida Kahlo with suggested classroom activities and discussion topics.