Jonathan Jones’s piece about the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A is right (A shrine to St Frida misses the point – her art, not her stuff, tells us who she is, 13 June). The curators of the show have missed the boat and are looking at the wake.
Frida painted my cub scout banner and gave my sister and me hot chocolate on the nearly weekly visits with her when I was growing up in Mexico. Frida is no doubt spinning in her proverbial grave at being twisted and converted into a symbol represented by her stuff – icons to misplaced femininity. Frida’s clothes and trappings served her delightfully, but without her are empty objects that howl with absence.
The real Frida is vividly expressed in her paintings. Volumes could be written about what she painted, how she painted, how the objects and symbols in her paintings relate to each other and to us, the viewers. Her profound appreciation of life, including managing pain, and the ways in which she perceived and conceived being embedded in a relation to plants and animals and nature, sing from her canvases.
I hope the exhibition will perhaps make some go look at her paintings and listen to what she says in them.
Fort Bragg, California
• The really interesting question regarding art forgeries (How to spot a perfect fake, 15 June) is not whether such and such a picture turns out to be a fake but why, if it’s so good that only advanced materials science can spot it, its fakeness really matters? So long as the original artist is dead, and their income not affected, surely the only people injured are the ones who treat art as a form of currency? Take that pension funds that buy pictures then lock them away in vaults till they’ve gained enough value to resell, and hedgies who see everything in terms of cash. For the rest of us, if the Cranach on our wall, or the wall of the nearest museum, gives us as much pleasure as the copper-bottomed Cranach in Berlin, then who cares if it was made in the 16th century or the 20th?
• So we may soon know the true whereabouts of the “just judges” stolen from the Ghent altarpiece in 1934, and we may enjoy the work of fiction written around its rediscovery (Report, 16 June). In the meantime I and other admirers of Albert Camus’s La Chute (The Fall) will go on believing it is hidden away in a back room in Amsterdam, under the eyes of Jean-Baptiste Clamence, the cynical self-proclaimed “judge-penitent” who took it off the thief’s hands to demonstrate that there is no justice in the world and no comfort for injured innocence other than submission to his new religion of desperate nihilism.
Emeritus professor of French, University of Sheffield
• Join the debate – email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters