Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Favorite Paintings at Tate Modern Gallery in London

The transformation from a former power plant to a one of the flashest galleries in the world, Tate Modern Gallery, along with d'Orsay in Paris, set forth an example of how to re-juvenile a blighted institution and a neighborhood.

The vast space was well utilized to showcase many huge sculptures and installations.  However, the works intrigued me most are paintings - one was Image of the Fish God (1956) by Alan Davie (born 1920) and the other one was Large Black Landscape (1946) by Jean Dubuffet (1901‑1985).

Scottish painter and printmaker Davie's Fish God (below) was a bold statement - it was both symmetrical unsymmetrical, and  simultaneously beautiful and ominous.  The imposing black block could be seen as a figure, and the white block on the left was some sort of monument or totemic symbol, and the diamond shape in middle stared at us like an all-seeing accusing eye.  Very mysterious and disturbing.

Image of the Fish God, 1956, Alan Davie (born 1920), Oil on Board, 1530 x 1219 mm

According to Tate Modern, Large Black Landscape (below) was the culminating work of a series of landscapes which Dubuffet executed in Paris between July and September 1946. 

Large Black Landscape, 1946, Jean Dubuffet (1901‑1985), Oil on Board, support: 1551 x 1186 mm frame: 1575 x 1210 x 57 mm

Despite the overwhelmingly dark shades on the board, my reaction to this painting was a quiet smile - it was very enchanting in its subtle and whimsical way.  The lovely pale sky, the flying object looking like a cross with four rounded ends, which also echoed the round sun sitting on the top of a mountain and the onion dome of a tall building.  Sliding my eye down, I found such correlations and echoes covered entire board and the beige colored lines, scraped and gouged, gave us the full gallery of daily life and fantasy.  Against the dark background, they glowed, and they were positive, comforting and was deceptively simple and beautiful.

I am not familiar with this French painter, sculptor, lithographer and writer.  Tate Modern informed the viewers that he
Moved to Paris in 1918 to study painting. Doubting the value of art and culture, stopped painting altogether 1924-33 and entered the wine trade. Made a second abortive attempt at painting 1933-7, also making masks and puppets. Began painting again in 1942 and had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie René Drouin, Paris, in 1944. Made paintings of Parisian street scenes, people in the Metro, jazz musicians, portraits of friends, etc., with humorous, ironic imagery executed in a grotesque style akin to naive graffiti...
 The more I learn, the less I know.

My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 48: My Favorite Paintings at Tate Britain, London
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 46: My Favorite Paintings in the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House, London

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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