Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Out & About: Matisse, Tate Modern, the National Gallery and lots of colour

Sunset from the National Theatre
One of my exciting summer adventures was a weekend in London, by myself.  It was a bit of a mega treat and although I could have done thousands of things, I decided to concentrate on just going to a small number of exhibitions and museums and making the most of those visits.
The river Thames from Waterloo Bridge
I don’t know if it was fear of the oyster card system or stubbornness, but in the end I walked everywhere.  It was a great way to re-acquaint myself with the place I lived for 10 years, seeing lots of new things and being entertained by the buzz of the metropolis.  On the Saturday evening, I went to a play at the National Theatre and there was the most fantastic sunset over the city during the interval.  I was so glad I had my ‘proper’ camera with me!  Afterwards I joined lots of other photographers/tourists on Waterloo Bridge taking night-time shots of the river. 
Bus going over Waterloo Bridge
But my main reason to go, was to visit some art.  Principally the Matisse cut-out exhibition at Tate Modern.  For me, it was worth the anticipation.  I love the bold shapes and clever designs of these pieces and whilst they look good in reproduction, it was fascinating to see them close up and see the pin holes where the pieces of paper had been tacked to the wall before the final layout was pleasing to the master.  Also, there is more variation in colour than can be seen in a reprint, something that had annoyed Matisse with his Jazz book. Although the exhibition has finished in this country, there is an app with loads of fantastic images and info you can download.
Henri Matisse, Large Composition with Masks 1953 National Gallery of Art, Washington. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1973.17.1 Digital Image: © National Gallery of Art, Washington Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

After a lovely time browsing in the bookshop (I picked up lots of books intending to buy, but eventually put most them back!) – I don’t often get to a really good bookshop – I walked over to the National Gallery where Margaret Cooter had recommended the Making Colour exhibition.  For once, I decided to take the audio guide, which was a good move, as it gave so much more information as to why the particular paintings had been selected to represent a certain shade or preparation of colour.  Although I know that certain colours are less stable than others and fade at different rates, seeing some examples of what the paintings would have looked like in their heyday was astonishing and. in some cases, somewhat gaudy!
Henri Matisse, The Snail 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted on paper mounted to canvas, Tate © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2013
My favourite piece in the Making Colour show was a photo of ‘Seizure’ an intriguing contemporary artwork by Roger Hiorns, definitely in the blue section.  It has just been moved to the YorkshireSculpture Park and it is definitely on my list to see next time I visit there.  This is a link to a video about it that the Guardian made when the work was moved last year.
Henri Matisse, Icarus 1946, Maquette for plate VIII of the illustrated book Jazz 1947, Digital image: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Claude Planchet, Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

I was going to tell you about the Sunday as well, but I think this is more than enough words for one blogpost, so I’ll keep the museum visit for another one.

1 comment:

Frieda Oxenham said...

Sounds like you made the most of it. Envy you the Matisse visit and am going to investigate the app. See you Friday!

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