© Graciela Iturbide, 2022
According to the express desire of Diego Rivera, the husband of Frida Kahlo, one of the bathrooms at the legendary Casa Azul, in the neighborhood of Coyoacán where the couple lived, remained closed following the Kahlo’s death in 1954. In 1958 the Casa Azul became a museum, but they would not open the bathroom until 50 years later. When Graciela Iturbide arrived with her camera, the restoration team had already removed a few objects, but the photographer still found a few that had not been tampered with: an orthopedic leg, some crutches, medicine, a range of political posters, and, as in this photograph, one of the artist’s recognizable corsets.
Below the corset are a socket, a light switch, and an old metal towel bar. There is nothing else in the image, but each object is marked by time and bears its traces. The bathroom is presented like a reliquary—Frida Kahlo is, in fact, a figure of devotion for many Mexicans—as an ensemble of pieces that reference martyrdom.
Nevertheless, El baño de Frida [Frida’s Bathroom] is not only an evocation of the artist’s figure—the imprint left by her work and her pain—it is also a comment on time. It refers to the insistent and incorruptible time that is locked within the bathroom, and to the stopping of time inherent to photography.