Frida Kahlo’s corsets remain to this day in her famous blue house…
The Broken Column, Frida Kahlo, 1944
From The Paris Review:
Frida Kahlo wore plaster corsets for most of her life because her spine was too weak to support itself. She painted them, naturally, covering them with pasted scraps of fabric and drawings of tigers, monkeys, plumed birds, a blood-red hammer and sickle, and streetcars like the one whose handrail rammed through her body when she was eighteen years old. The corsets remain to this day in her famous blue house—their embedded mirrors reflecting back our gazes, their collages bringing the whole world into stricture. In one, an open circle has been carved into the plaster like a skylight near the heart.
Charles Baxter once found what he called “the last appeal” in a scene from Sherwood Anderson, a woman running naked in the rain, begging attention from an old deaf man. “Her body,” he writes, “her last semiotic appeal, or vulnerability, or precious secret—it’s all of these things, but it will not be reduced to one meaning—carries the burden of her longing, and becomes the record of erasure.”
Frida’s corsets hardened around unspeakable longing. They still frame an invisible woman, still naked in her want, still calling to deaf men in the rain. I find them beautiful. She would have given anything, perhaps, to have a body that rendered them irrelevant.