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jaydarcy
21st July 2022

Mexican Geniuses at Canada Water: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera live on in London

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy reviews Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience at Dock X, London
Mexican Geniuses at Canada Water: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera live on in London

Immersive experiences that celebrate the works of renowned artists are taking the world by storm. In particular, Van Gogh has seen his work reproduced across various venues, cities, and organisers. Events include Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Beyond Van Gogh, and Van Gogh Alive – the latter of which I saw earlier this year in Salford, Greater Manchester. Van Gogh immersive experiences have become so popular that there’s even a Wikipedia page about them!

Photo: Fever.

Now, renowned Mexican artists (and romantic partners) Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are being honoured with an immersive experience of their own, aptly titled Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience.

Mexican Geniuses is an experience by Brian Hunter Co. and organised by Fever – who also organised the magical Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel exhibition. I was invited to the intimate press launch event for that at the Trafford Centre earlier this year, where I got to meet the exhibition’s creator, Martin Biallas. Fever are involved with some fabulous experiences, and this one is no different.

This latest experience has attracted scores of Frida and Diego fans in both London and Washington DC – including Rihanna, who visited the Canada Water, London, exhibit days before I did!

Rihanna. Photo: Fever.

The exhibit is split into several sections – each room an experience of its own.

“Art  & Life” is an introduction to the revered artists. The room features unique storytelling, cutting-edge technology, and recreations of paintings and props – including Frida’s corset and wheelchair.

Photo: Fever.

In particular, I loved the 3D recreation of a Frida painting. It brings the painting to life – and is a highlight of what is to come, for if you think this room breathes life into Frida and Diego’s work, just wait for the next one!

Photo: Fever.

I also loved the wall covered in famous Frida Kahlo quotes (in their original Spanish and translated into English for gringos) – including, “I suffered two serious accidents in my life. The first was when a tram hit me. The second was Diego”.

Photo: Fever.

Next to the feature wall is a curtain, with a painting of Frida and Diego printed on it, that leads you into the next room – much to the confusion of lots of attendees (myself included – one of the guys working there told me I won’t be the last to get confused).

Photo: Fever.

Walking through the curtain leads you into the “Immersive Room”. This room uses the latest video-mapping technology to bring Frida and Diego’s greatest paintings to life in a mesmerising digital show – a light and sound spectacular!

Photo: Fever.

Over 300 digital projections envelope the walls around you, with Frida and Diego’s brushstrokes painting each and every wall in real time. The projections shower everyone in sight, drawing them into the iconic art; they are no longer fellow spectators but part of the paintings. The surreal, psychedelic experience has you feeling trapped inside a painting – and then another painting, and then another – but you never want to escape. It’s like an endless fever (sweet) dream and a beautiful nightmare, all wrapped up in one.

Photo: Fever.

The next room is less immersive, more interactive. In it, you will find two photo stands. One of them allows you to pose with Frida and Diego.

Photo: Fever.

The other allows you to become Frida or Diego!

Photo: Fever.

The room also features a huge colouring wall (well, a whiteboard). Boxes of brightly-coloured whiteboard markers sit ready for children (and easy-going, fun-spirited adults) to get involved. After featuring in Frida and Diego’s art, you now get the chance to recreate it!

Photo: Fever.

The experience ends with the “VR Room” – a virtual reality experience that requires a VIP ticket (or you can just pay for it there on the day).

Photo: Fever.

The 360° experience allows you to walk alongside Frida and Diego on a visually-rich journey throughout Mexico. Travel to the After Life and celebrate the Day of the Dead in a world inspired by their works of art.

Photo: Fever.

After this, there’s a gorgeous gift shop, filled with the most marvellous merchandise and super sumptuous souvenirs!

Photo: Fever.

The experience is a sensuous celebration of two of the most important artists who ever lived – including my favourite artist, Frida Kahlo. Whilst there are no actual works of art from the artists, this exhibition allows you to experience them in an entirely different way – by being inside them.

Don’t worry if you can’t get away this summer, for Mexico has come to the UK (trust, the day I visited the exhibition, it was roasting)!

Mexican Geniuses: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience is taking place at Dock X, Unit 1 Canada Water in London (Waterfront entrance next to Decathlon). It is booking until the end of August.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected]

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