Last weekend I went to see The Life in Motion exhibition at Tate Liverpool, it was a joint exhibition of the work of Egon Schiele and the photographer Francesca Woodman.
I had seen Schiele’s work previously in the Courtauld exhibition The Radical Nude in 2014 https://courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/what-on/exhibitions-displays/archive/schiele-the-radical-nude and did not need much persuading to go and see his work again. I was curious however as to why he was paired with an American Photographer of the 1970’s.
The link, from reading the catalogue, appears to be Woodman’s ability to portray the emotional state of the subjects and Schiele’s ability to depict the emotional tension in contorted human bodies.
I am used to going to galleries to concentrate on the images on display and not the story and emotions behind the images, and concentrating on this aspect of the exhibition was unusual but recalled part 3 of the Drawing 2 course where I was asked to consider how my emotional state affected my process of working. I have thought about this since, and I think I have decided that the work takes precedence over my emotions, if the work is not good in the first place there will be no one interested in considering the emotions of the artist or his ability to display the emotions of his subject or his emotional reaction to the subject. It is an occupation of the chattering classes to discuss how insane Van Gogh was as he produced each of his great works.
All that having been said the works on display are superb my favourite Scheile was Self portrait in a crouching position the hatching on the legs is reminiscent of a similar technique employed by Cezanne, the intention of which seems to suggest movement.
I was new to Woodman but fell in love with Untitled Rome Italy 1977-8 and I liked her use of delayed exposures to give a sense of movement and synthesising the body with the architecture .
Once I had seen the exhibition, there were two further exhibitions that I looked at, the first was Roy Lichtenstein in Focus. They have just invented a way of cleaning Lichtenstein’s pictures and there was a video presentation of the technique and one of the gallery staff was giving a talk on Lichtenstein’s process.
In the ground floor exhibition space Ken’s show Exploring the Unseen was a celebration of one of the gallery handler’s Ken having worked at the gallery for 30 years. It was an exhibition that was landscape based and included major works from the Tate collection.
By far the highlight of the gallery is its permanent collection. This is laid out on a constellation basis and covers approximately half of the gallery space. The constellation basis is probably best explained on the Tate Liverpool website here. The interactive website, like the real life gallery, traces the links between modern and contemporary art and artists. The website is a great tool and for a change, women artists are well represented, but like all of the internet it is built for surfing, you have to be there in the gallery to really appreciate the artwork on show.
Following our tour of the galleries, we convened in the coffee bar to discuss our impressions of the Life in motion exhibition and the gallery as a whole and to talk of other things including course related issues.
Thanks to Bryan, Catherine, Bernadette, Kym, Roselyne and Karin for a great and educational day out.
On the train home I read Bomberg in preparation for an exhibition I am going to see next weekend at the Ben Uri Gallery in London. I hope to catch up with you before then.
My love as always