Imagine the dress up fun we could have in Grandma’s attic, if Grandma were Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) and the attic was a sealed off Mexico City bathroom where Grandpa — artist Diego Rivera, natch — had stashed all her stuff.
Yellow-laced scarlet booties trimmed with beads!
A glamorous, rotting swimsuit and an extremely familiar-looking traditional Tehuana headdress!
A saucy prosthetic leg! A skirted body cast embellished with hand-painted hammer and sickle.
Now let us take a minute to live vicariously through photographer Ishiuchi Miyako, whose previous subjects have included the clothing of her late mother and victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In 2004, the Museo Frida Kahlo’s staff started organizing Frida’s personal effects. Rivera (1886–1957) had stored them in the aforementioned Mexico city bathroom, along with instructions that the room should remain sealed for a period of 15 years following his death. In 2011, the museum invited Miyako in to document the far-from-mint condition relics, almost 300 in total.
“If I met her, I wouldn’t ask any questions,” the photographer avowed in an interview with AnOther Magazine. “I would only want to stare at her and touch her body.”
There is an intimacy to her gaze that suggests this statement might be true. Rarely have a couple of bottles of dried up nail polish exuded such sensuality.