An immersive exhibition invites visitors to discover the exciting life of the famous Mexican painter

The gallery announces the appointment of a new director, Chris Michaels

November 25, 2022 to January 29, 2023

Coventry Culture City Trust is delighted to announce that The reel store will host an immersive exhibition exploring the life and work of iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo from November 25, 2022 to January 29, 2023.

The Trust is also announcing today the appointment of Chris Michaels as the first director of The Reel Store, where he will be responsible for strategic direction and curatorial leadership. Most recently, Chris was Director of Digital, Communications and Technology at the National Gallery in London, where he served on their Executive Committee. He is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Creative Industries Policy and Engagement Fellow at the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Blooloop named him one of the “Power 10 Museum Influencers” in 2022.

The multi-award winning exhibition Life and work of Frida Kahlo comes to Coventry after its sold-out run in Madrid, which saw over 100,000 visitors. Conceived, designed and produced by international exhibition producer Acciona Cultura in collaboration with the Frida Kahlo Trust, the exhibition combines academic research with an immersive spectacle that puts visitors at the center of the experience. The curatorial team behind the exhibition was led by Roxana Velásquez, executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art, and Deidré Guevara, curator of the exhibition. Frida and me at the Georges Pompidou Museum in Paris

The exhibition uses Kahlo’s personal diary to take visitors into her intimate world, inviting them to explore a fascinating new side of the famous artist through different parts of her identity: as a woman, a painter and an icon.

The immersive and audiovisual show is separated into three parts with a voiceover that highlights the richness of his writings.

The first part shows the artist as an acclaimed public figure in the 1930s and 1940s, exhibiting all over the world and rubbing shoulders with figures such as Pablo Picasso and Alice Rahon. The second section focuses on her personal story, her family origins in Mexico and the two most significant events in her life: a bus accident in 1925 that nearly paralyzed her and her tumultuous relationship with the artist Diego Rivera. The third section of the experience centers on “The Blue House” in Mexico where Kahlo lived, worked and died, and the site where many of his most famous works were painted.

In addition to extracts from Frida’s diary which show personal and hitherto unknown facets of this exceptional artist, the exhibition presents several masterpieces by the painter, including her famous self-portraits. The wounded deer or the one dedicated to Doctor Eloesserand other lesser known works such as The Suicide of Dorothy HaleWhere What the water gave me. It presents an artistic reinterpretation of Frida’s work using a 360º projection. A hands-on exhibit introduces visitors to the artist before entering the experiential galleries.

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Chris as the first Director of The Reel Store. He is at the forefront of digital innovation in the cultural sector and with his leadership, experience and pioneering thinking, I am sure we achieve our ambitious plans for the future.

Chris Michaels, Director of The Reel Store, said:

“I am incredibly thrilled to join The Reel Store as its first director at this pivotal time. The venue is leading the way for a new generation of museums and galleries that are building on the possibilities of digital and we are thrilled to announce life and work of Frida Kahlo as her second exhibition.

We’re sure it will not only provide an unforgettable snapshot of Kahlo’s iconic story, but also bring her thoughts, emotions, and artwork to life. The exhibition invites visitors into the heart of the creative experience, taking them on an intimate journey alongside one of the world’s most beloved and respected artists.

Carla Prat, artistic director of “The life and work of Frida Kahlo at Acciona Cultura”:

“This exhibition is the culmination of a long artistic and academic exercise to move away from the usual narrative of pain/victim and towards one of resilience, courage, female empowerment and genius. The truth is that despite the many biopics, books, and exhibitions about Frida Kahlo, there is still much to learn and remember about her and her paintings. This exhibition screams, “This is how I felt. That’s how I thought. That’s how I was. Remember me !”

Beyond its iconic masterpieces and popular perceptions, the show will take visitors on an unforgettable journey of resilience, hope and bravery. Life and work of Frida Kahlo is presented with a soundtrack by Goya-nominated composer and pianist Arturo Cardelús, which combines traditional European and Mexican music and captures the spirit of Kahlo’s legacy. The soundtrack was recorded with the Budapest Art Orchestra by its conductor, Peter Pejtsik.

The exhibition has already won three major international awards: the “Best Experience Design 2022” at the Innovation by Design Awards Fast Company, the Red Dot Design Award in the category “Brand and Communication Design 2022” and the Silver Award for the “Best Technical Facility “. ‘ at the Eventoplus Awards.

The Reel Store has been made possible by the generous support of Coventry City Council’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through the Council’s Cultural Capital Investment Fund, the Government Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), The Patrick Trust, The Linbury Trust, Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.