I went to the Tate Liverpool to see their current exhibition of Fernand Ledger: New Times, New Pleasures.
I was hoping to see some of his early work from before the First World War but the exhibition began with his work in 1917 and carried on chronologically for the rest of his life.
His machine inspired work was full of movement, movement seemed to fascinate Leger and this is borne out in the two film clips included in the exhibition, Ballet Mecanique and Girl with the Prefabricated Heart.
I was more taken by his later figure work. Something I noticed was that his figures never touched the edges of the frame, almost all had a boundary and a margin that separated the figures from the edge of the picture plane. Maybe the technical term for this is a vignette. I am not sure why Leger chose this technique but it does seem to make his figures more monumental and sculptural.
The paint is quite thick and impasto in his early work, which could be a leftover from his early impressionist training but in the late figure paintings the paint is thin and flat indicating that the experimentation had moved away from the canvas and was either not necessary or confined to the sketchbook.
It is quite a large exhibition almost, but not quite, as I have already said, a retrospective.
The companion exhibition was part of the News from Nowhere Project by Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho. The twisted steel sculptures reminded me of the Ground Zero Museum in New York and the link to the main exhibition was provided by the large screens with scenes from contemporary Liverpool these art films were, however, less hopeful than Leger’s.
Tate Liverpool. (2018) Fernand Leger: New Times, New Pleasures. At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/fernand-leger-new-times-new-pleasures (Accessed 29/12/18)
Tate Liverpool. (2018) See Liverpool through the eyes of a man who has travelled through space and time to arrive in the city on the eve of the apocalypse. At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/moon-kyungwon-and-jeon-joonho-news-nowhere (Accessed 29/12/18)
Searle A (2018) Fernand Leger: New Times, New pleasures Review- Humanity in a Machine age. At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/nov/25/fernand-leger-new-times-new-pleasures-tate-liverpool-adrian-searle (Accessed 29/12/18)
Smart A (2018) Fernand Leger: The French artist whose abstract mechanical paintings were called Tubism. At: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/fernand-leger-artist-tate-liverpool-tubism-art-picasso-first-world-war-a8646451.html (Accessed 29/12/18)
Leger, F. (1947) The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOvnQ9Vqptw (Accessed 29/12/18)
Leger, F. (1924) Ballet Mecanique. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMKiF2eb8ks