ZAMEK Culture Centre

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Polish Context

Exhibition of masterpieces of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, as well as works from private and museum collections in Mexico, Germany and Poland.

Exhibition curator: Dr Helga Prignitz-Poda

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Polish Context will be Poland’s first and only exhibition devoted to Kahlo and Rivera, additionally enriched with the little known, yet highly compelling Polish context. As regards the latter, the show will explore the oeuvre of two Polish-born artists whom fate brought very close to Frida and Diego (Bernice Kolko and Fanny Rabel), as well as revisit the Exhibition of Mexican Art, held in 1955 in Poland, during which the works of Kahlo, Rivera and Rabel were displayed.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Polish Context at ZAMEK Culture Centre, will be divided into several parts.

The works of Kahlo and Rivera from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection in Mexico will be presented in our Exhibition Hall. Frida Kahlo de Rivera enjoys a singular fame throughout the world, renowned and admired for her numerous self-portraits in which “pain and passion” are conveyed to the accompaniment of vivid, exuberant colours. At the age of 22, Frida she married the famous Mexican painter, Diego Rivera. In 1953, when Frida Kahlo had her first and the only solo exhibition in Mexico, one of the critics observed: "It is impossible to separate the life and work of this extraordinary person. Her paintings are her biography." Viewers coming to ZAMEK Culture Centre will have the opportunity to see the some of the best known, virtually iconic masterpieces of Frida’s, such as Self-Portrait with a Necklace, Portrait of Diego Rivera, or Self-Portrait MCMXLI. The show will comprise around 40 works created by Kahlo and Rivera, as well as famous photographic depictions of the artist by e.g. Nickolas Muray, who took multiple portraits of Frida in the 1930s and 1940s.

Leaving the Exhibition Hall, viewers will be able to access a specially constructed screening room, where we will be showing documentaries addressing the life and work of Frida Kahlo and her husband.
In the west wing of the Castle, our visitors will find photographs by Bernice Kolko, who became Frida’s close friend in the final years of her life. The bond between both was so intimate that Kolko had leave to take very personal pictures of Frida, who did not feel bound to assume any poses and let herself be portrayed in her everyday surroundings, in the garden, with friends, or even as she lay ill in bed.
Yet another room will be devoted to the work of Fanny Rabel, one of the four closest students of Frida’s, who also collaborated with Diego Rivera as he worked on his extensive murals. Her oeuvre, depicting everyday life of Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s, is a testimony to the environment in which Kahlo lived and worked.  Further on, viewers will enter an interior retrospecting on the Exhibition of Mexican Art, which took place in Poland in 1955. It was one of the major events in Polish artistic and cultural life of the 1950s. The show included works by the foremost Mexican artists of the 20th century, among which there was Kahlo’s La Mesa Herida (The Wounded Table), her largest work ever, seen for the last time at that very exposition.
Naturally, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Polish Context will also delve into the phenomenon of Frida’s popularity and the impact of her art on successive generations of artists, not only from Mexico.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an abundant programme of museum classes, lectures, guided tours and creative workshops.

The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20˚Century Mexican Art and The Vergel Foundation © 2016 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Educational Events

The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive programme of educational events, including series of workshops, courses and lectures. Addressed to a range of age groups, they spanned a wide variety of topics and contents. Participants had the opportunity to engage in manual activities, show verbal skills and creativity, but those who prefer learning by listening were also welcome.  

Additionally, we prepared a choice of museum classes for school groups and offered guided tours of the show. The museum classes proved a splendid environment to address topics coinciding with the curricula at all education levels. Pupils who took part not only found out about the work of the famous artists  but also gained insights into interesting related issues.

It was one of our foremost concerns to make the exhibition accessible to all visitors, without exceptions, therefore a number of arrangements were made to make it convenient for the disabled, while persons with various dysfunctions could partake in dedicated events. Thus, the programme included special tours of the exhibition for the visually and hearing impaired, as well as guests with mobility dysfunctions.  Below, you can see the film which showed the way to the exhibition for persons with disabilities. Throughout the exhibition, we had the honour of collaborating with the Mili Ludzie Foundation and Polish Sign Language Translators.

Number of works on display:
28 works by Frida Kahlo,
10 works by Diego Rivera,
11 works by other artists, such as photographs by Nickolas Muray from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection from Mexico.

In addition, our visitors saw:
37 works by Fanny Rabel, Frida’s student,
70 photographs by Bernice Kolko,
14 works from the National Museum in Warsaw,
20 other artefacts: reviews, posters, catalogues of the 1955 exhibition and other shows of Mexican art in Poland,
40 works of artists from the meXylo group.

118,000 people came to see the works of the famed Mexicans and two Polish-born female artists whom fate brought close to Frida and Diego.

As part of the exhibition’s comprehensive educational programme, financed by Veolia Poland Foundation, we held:
435 museum classes,
guided tours for groups.

The show was publicized in:

press articles, radio and television shows and features, as well as mentions in the media


Martyna Łokuciejewska

spokes person

+48 61 64 65 270

photospress info

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