Posts Tagged ‘Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

09
Sep
16

Exhibition: ‘Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous: Works from the Collections of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch’ at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 4th June – 11th September 2016

Curator: Keith Hartley

 

 

Marcus Bunyan. 'Self-portrait with gryphon and Miro (Head of a Catalan Peasant) tattoo' 1998

 

Marcus Bunyan
Self-portrait with gryphon and Miró (Head of a Catalan Peasant) tattoo, both by Alex Binnie, London
1998

 

I have the five elements in tattoos. In the Head of a Catalan Peasant by Miró featured in the posting, the red hat – in the form of a triangle – signifies ‘fire’ in Western occult mythology.

 

 

“Surrealism is not a movement. It is a latent state of mind perceivable through the powers of dream and nightmare.”

Salvador Dalí

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“As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.” 

Comte de Lautréamont

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“A constant human error: to believe in an end to one’s fantasies. Our daydreams are the measure of our unreachable truth. The secret of all things lies in the emptiness of the formula that guard them.”

Floriano Martins

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Marcus

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Many thankx to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Francis Picabia (1879-1953) 'Fille née sans mère [Girl Born without a Mother]' c. 1916-17

 

Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
Fille née sans mère [Girl Born without a Mother]
c. 1916-17
Gouache and metallic paint on printed paper
50 x 65 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, purchased 1990

 

René Magritte (1898-1967) 'Au seuil de la liberté (On the Threshold of Liberty)' 1930

 

René Magritte (1898-1967)
Au seuil de la liberté (On the Threshold of Liberty)
1930
Oil on canvas
114 x 146 cm
Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Formerly collection of E. James), purchased 1966

 

André Masson (1896-1987) 'Massacre' 1931

 

André Masson (1896-1987)
Massacre
1931
Oil on canvas
Collection: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Max Ernst (1891–1976) 'La Joie de vivre [The Joy of Life]' 1936

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
La Joie de vivre [The Joy of Life]
1936
Oil on canvas
73.5 x 92.5 cm
Collection: National Galleries of Scotland
Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995

 

Max Ernst. 'The Fireside Angel (The Triumph of Surrealism)' 1937

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
The Fireside Angel (The Triumph of Surrealism)
L’ange du foyer (Le triomphe du surréalisme)
1937
Oil on canvas
114 cm x 146 cm

 

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [A Little Night Music]' 1943

 

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [A Little Night Music]
1943
Oil on canvas
40.7 x 61 cm
Collection: Tate (formerly collection of R. Penrose)
Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the American Fund for the Tate Gallery 1997

 

 

Apart from three weeks she spent at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1930, Tanning was a self-taught artist. The surreal imagery of her paintings from the 1940s and her close friendships with artists and writers of the Surrealist Movement have led many to regard Tanning as a Surrealist painter, yet she developed her own individual style over the course of an artistic career that spanned six decades.

Tanning’s early works – paintings such as Birthday and Eine kleine Nachtmusik (1943, Tate Modern, London) – were precise figurative renderings of dream-like situations. Like other Surrealist painters, she was meticulous in her attention to details and in building up surfaces with carefully muted brushstrokes. Through the late 1940s, she continued to paint depictions of unreal scenes, some of which combined erotic subjects with enigmatic symbols and desolate space. During this period she formed enduring friendships with, among others, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, and John Cage; designed sets and costumes for several of George Balanchine’s ballets, including The Night Shadow (1945) at the Metropolitan Opera House; and appeared in two of Hans Richter’s avant-garde films.

Over the next decade, Tanning’s painting evolved, becoming less explicit and more suggestive. Now working in Paris and Huismes, France, she began to move away from Surrealism and develop her own style. During the mid-1950s, her work radically changed and her images became increasingly fragmented and prismatic, exemplified in works such as Insomnias (1957, Moderna Museet, Stockholm). As she explains, “Around 1955 my canvases literally splintered… I broke the mirror, you might say.” (Text from the Wikipedia website)

 

Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) 'La Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase)' 1935–41

 

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
La Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase)
1935-41
Sculpture, leather-covered case containing miniature replicas and photographs of Duchamp’s works
10 x 38 x 40.5 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, presented anonymously 1989

 

Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) 'L'Appel de la Nuit (The Call of the Night)' 1938

 

Paul Delvaux (1897-1994)
L’Appel de la Nuit (The Call of the Night)
1938
Oil on canvas
110 x 145 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995

 

 

Delvaux’s paintings of the late 1920s and early 1930s, which feature nudes in landscapes, are strongly influenced by such Flemish Expressionists as Constant Permeke and Gustave De Smet. A change of style around 1933 reflects the influence of the metaphysical art of Giorgio de Chirico, which he had first encountered in 1926 or 1927. In the early 1930s Delvaux found further inspiration in visits to the Brussels Fair, where the Spitzner Museum, a museum of medical curiosities, maintained a booth in which skeletons and a mechanical Venus figure were displayed in a window with red velvet curtains. This spectacle captivated Delvaux, supplying him with motifs that would appear throughout his subsequent work. In the mid-1930s he also began to adopt some of the motifs of his fellow Belgian René Magritte, as well as that painter’s deadpan style in rendering the most unexpected juxtapositions of otherwise ordinary objects.

Delvaux acknowledged his influences, saying of de Chirico, “with him I realized what was possible, the climate that had to be developed, the climate of silent streets with shadows of people who can’t be seen, I’ve never asked myself if it’s surrealist or not.” Although Delvaux associated for a period with the Belgian surrealist group, he did not consider himself “a Surrealist in the scholastic sense of the word.” As Marc Rombaut has written of the artist: “Delvaux … always maintained an intimate and privileged relationship to his childhood, which is the underlying motivation for his work and always manages to surface there. This ‘childhood,’ existing within him, led him to the poetic dimension in art.”

The paintings Delvaux became famous for usually feature numbers of nude women who stare as if hypnotized, gesturing mysteriously, sometimes reclining incongruously in a train station or wandering through classical buildings. Sometimes they are accompanied by skeletons, men in bowler hats, or puzzled scientists drawn from the stories of Jules Verne. Delvaux would repeat variations on these themes for the rest of his long life… (Text from the Wikipedia website)

 

Photograph album: International Surrealist Exhibition, London 1936, made 1936 - 1939 Images taken by Chancery. Images titled by Roland Penrose

Photograph album: International Surrealist Exhibition, London 1936, made 1936 - 1939 Images taken by Chancery. Images titled by Roland Penrose

 

Photograph album: International Surrealist Exhibition, London 1936
Made 1936 – 1939
Images taken by Chancery. Images titled by Roland Penrose
32.00 x 26.00 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Photo: Antonio Reeve

 

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) 'Mae West Lips Sofa' 1937-38

 

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Mae West Lips Sofa
1937-38
Wood, wool
92 x 215 x 66 cm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam © Fundacion Gala – Salvador Dalí, Beeldrecht Amsterdam 2007.
© Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2015

 

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) 'Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages [Couple with their Heads Full of Clouds]' 1936

 

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages [Couple with their Heads Full of Clouds]
1936
Oil on canvas
Left figure: 82.5 x 62.5 cm; right figure: 92.5 x 69.5 cm
Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Formerly collection of E. James)
Purchased with the support of The Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt) 1979
© Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2015

 

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) 'Impressions d'Afrique (Impressions of Africa)' 1938

 

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Impressions d’Afrique (Impressions of Africa)
1938
Oil on canvas
91.5 x 117.5 cm
Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Formerly collection of E. James)
Purchased with the support of The Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), Prins Bernhard Fonds, Erasmusstichting, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht Rotterdam and Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1979
© Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2015

 

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) 'The House Opposite' 1945

 

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)
The House Opposite
1945
Tempera on board
33 x 82 cm
West Dean College, part of the Edward James Foundation

 

“I painted for myself…I never believed anyone would exhibit or buy my work.”

Leonora Carrington was not interested in the writings of Sigmund Freud, as were other Surrealists in the movement. She instead focused on magical realism and alchemy and used autobiographical detail and symbolism as the subjects of her paintings. Carrington was interested in presenting female sexuality as she experienced it, rather than as that of male surrealists’ characterization of female sexuality. Carrington’s work of the 1940s is focused on the underlying theme of women’s role in the creative process. (Text from the Wikipedia website)

 

 

Masterpieces from four of the finest collections of Dada and Surrealist art ever assembled will be brought together in this summer’s major exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA). Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous will explore the passions and obsessions that led to the creation of four very different collections, which are bound together by a web of fascinating links and connections, and united by the extraordinary quality of the works they comprise.

Surrealism was one of the most radical movements of the twentieth century, which challenged conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, the world of dreams and the laws of chance. Emerging from the chaotic creativity of Dada (itself a powerful rejection of traditional values triggered by the horrors of the First World War) its influence on our wider culture remains potent almost a century after it first appeared in Paris in the 1920s. World-famous works by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio de Chirico, André Breton, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Yves Tanguy, Leonor Fini, Marcel Duchamp and Paul Delvaux will be among the 400 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, artist books and archival materials, to feature in Surreal Encounters. The exhibition has been jointly organised by the SNGMA, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Hamburger Kunsthalle, where it will be shown following its only UK showing in Edinburgh.

Dalí’s The Great Paranoiac (1936), Lobster Telephone (1938) and Impressions of Africa (1938); de Chirico’s Two Sisters (1915); Ernst’s Pietà or Revolution by Night (1923) and Dark Forest and Bird (1927), and Magritte’s The Magician’s Accomplice (1926) and Not to be Reproduced (1937) will be among the highlights of this exceptional overview of Surrealist art. The exhibition will also tell the personal stories of the fascinating individuals who pursued these works with such dedication and discernment.

The first of these – the poet, publisher and patron of the arts, Edward James (1907-84) and the artist, biographer and exhibition organiser, Roland Penrose (1900-84) – acquired the majority of the works in their collections while the Surrealist movement was at its height in the interwar years, their choices informed by close associations and friendships with many of the artists. James was an important supporter of Salvador Dalí and René Magritte in particular, while Penrose was first introduced to Surrealism through a friendship with Max Ernst. The stories behind James’s commissioning of works such as Dalí’s famous Mae West Lips Sofa (1938) and Magritte’s The Red Model III (1937) and the role of Penrose in the production of Ernst’s seminal collage novel Une Semaine de Bonté (1934) will demonstrate how significant these relationships were for both the artists and the collectors. Other celebrated works on show that formed part of these two profoundly important collections include Tanning’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943); Magritte’s On the Threshold of Liberty (1937); Miró’s Head of a Catalan Peasant (1925); and The House Opposite (c. 1945) by Leonora Carrington

While the Penrose and James collections are now largely dispersed, the extraordinary collection of Dada and Surrealist art put together by Gabrielle Keiller (1908-95), was bequeathed in its entirety to the SNGMA on her death in 1995, the largest benefaction in the institution’s history. Keiller devoted herself to this area following a visit to the Venice home of the celebrated American art lover Peggy Guggenheim in 1960, which proved to be a pivotal moment in her life. She went on to acquire outstanding works such as Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-Valise (1935-41), Alberto Giacometti’s Disagreeable Object, to be Thrown Away (1931) and Girl Born without a Mother (c.1916-17) by Francis Picabia. Recognizing the fundamental significance of Surrealism’s literary aspect, Keiller also worked assiduously to create a magnificent library and archive, full of rare books, periodicals, manifestos and manuscripts, which makes the SNGMA one of the world’s foremost centres for the study of the movement.

The exhibition will be brought up to date by the inclusion of works from the collection of Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, who have spent more than 40 years in their quest to build up an historically balanced collection of Surrealism, which they have recently presented to the city of Berlin, where they still live. The collection features many outstanding paintings by Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, André Masson, Leonor Fini, Ernst, Tanguy, Magritte and Miró; sculptures by Hans Arp and Hans Bellmer; and works by André Breton, the leader of the Surrealists. Highlights include Masson’s Massacre (1931), Ernst’s Head of ‘The Fireside Angel’ (c. 1937), Picasso’s Arabesques Woman (1931) and Arp’s sculpture Assis (Seated) (1937).

The exhibition’s curator in Edinburgh, Keith Hartley, who is Deputy Director of the SNGMA, has said, “Surrealist art has captured the public imagination like perhaps no other movement of modern art. The very word ‘surreal’ has become a by-word to describe anything that is wonderfully strange, akin to what André Breton, the chief theorist of Surrealism, called ‘the marvellous’. This exhibition offers an exceptional opportunity to enjoy art that is full of ‘the marvellous’. It brings together many important works which have rarely been seen in public, by a wide range of Surrealist artists, and creates some very exciting new juxtapositions.”

Press release from SNGMA

 

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) 'Tête [Head]' 1913

 

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Tête [Head]
1913
Drawing, papiers collés with black chalk on card
43.5 x 33 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Purchased with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995
Photo: Antonia Reeve
© DACS / Estate of Pablo Picasso

 

Max Ernst. 'Pieta or Revolution by Night' 1923

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Pieta or Revolution by Night
1923
Oil on canvas

 

René Magritte (1898-1967) 'The Magician's Accomplice' 1926

 

René Magritte (1898-1967)
The Magician’s Accomplice
1926
Oil on canvas

 

René Magritte (1898-1967) 'L’Esprit comique (The Comic Spirit)' 1928

 

René Magritte (1898-1967)
L’Esprit comique (The Comic Spirit)
1928
Oil on canvas
75 x 60 cm
Collection: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) 'Femme aux arabesques (Arabesque Woman)' 1931

 

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Femme aux arabesques (Arabesque Woman)
1931
Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Max Ernst (1891–1976) 'Jeune homme intrigué par le vol d’une mouche non-euclidienne [Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly]' 1942–7

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Jeune homme intrigué par le vol d’une mouche non-euclidienne [Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly]
1942–7
Oil and paint on canvas
82 x 66 cm
Collection: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976) 'Une semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness]' 1934

Max Ernst (1891-1976) 'Une semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness]' 1934

 

Max Ernst (1891-1976)
Une semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness]
1934
Collage graphic novel

 

 

Une semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness] is a graphic novel and artist’s book by Max Ernst, first published in 1934. It comprises 182 images created by cutting up and re-organizing illustrations from Victorian encyclopedias and novels.

The 184 collages of Une semaine de bonté [A Week of Kindness] were created during the summer of 1933 while Max Ernst was staying at Vigoleno, in northern Italy. The artist took his inspiration from wood engravings, published in popular illustrated novels, natural science journals or 19th century sales catalogues. With infinite care, he cut out the images that interested him and assembled them with such precision as to bring his collage technique to a level of incomparable perfection. Without seeing the original illustrations, it is difficult to work out where Max Ernst intervened. In the end, each collage forms a series of interlinked images to produce extraordinary creatures which evolve in fascinating scenarios and create visionary worlds defying comprehension and any sense of reality.

After La Femme 100 têtes [The Woman with one Hundred Heads] (1929) and Rêve d’une petite fille qui voulut entrer au Carmel [A Little Girl dreams of taking the Veil] (1930), Une semaine de bonté was Max Ernst’s third collage-novel. Ernst had originally intended to publish it in seven volumes associating each book with a day of the week. Moreover, the title referred to the seven days in Genesis. Yet it was also an allusion to the mutual aid association ‘La semaine de la bonté’ [The Week of Kindness], founded in 1927 to promote social welfare. Paris was flooded with posters from the organisation seeking support from everyone. Like the elements making up the collages, the title was also “borrowed” by Max Ernst.

The first four publication deliveries did not, however, achieve the success that had been anticipated. The three remaining ‘days’ were therefore put together into a fifth and final book. The books came out between April and December 1934, each having been bound in a different colour: purple, green, red, blue and yellow. In the final version, two works were taken out. The edition therefore consists of only 182 collages. (Text from the Musée D’Orsay website)

 

Yves Tanguy (1900-1955) 'Sans titre, ou Composition surréaliste (Untitled, or Surrealist Composition)' 1927

 

Yves Tanguy (1900-1955)
Sans titre, ou Composition surréaliste (Untitled, or Surrealist Composition)
1927
Oil on canvas
54.5 x 38 cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

 

Tanguy’s paintings have a unique, immediately recognizable style of nonrepresentational surrealism. They show vast, abstract landscapes, mostly in a tightly limited palette of colors, only occasionally showing flashes of contrasting color accents. Typically, these alien landscapes are populated with various abstract shapes, sometimes angular and sharp as shards of glass, sometimes with an intriguingly organic look to them, like giant amoebae suddenly turned to stone. (Text from the Wikipedia website)

 

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) 'Voltage' 1942

 

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)
Voltage
1942
Oil on canvas
29 x 30.9 cm
Collection: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) 'Objet désagréable, à jeter [Disagreeable Object, to be Thrown away]' 1931

 

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Objet désagréable, à jeter [Disagreeable Object, to be Thrown away]
1931
Wood
19.6 x 31 x 29 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, purchased 1990
© Bridgeman Art Library

 

Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1996) 'Assis (Seated)' 1937

 

Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1996)
Assis (Seated)
1937
Limestone
29.5 x 44.5 x 16 cm
Collection: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Joan Miro (1893-1983) 'Peinture (Painting)' 1925

 

Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Peinture (Painting)
1925
Oil on canvas
130 x 97 cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

 

Joan Miró. 'Peinture' 1927

 

Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Peinture [Painting]
1927
Oil on canvas
33 x 24.1 cm
Collection: National Galleries of Scotland
Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995

 

Joan Miró. 'Tête de Paysan Catalan [Head of a Catalan Peasant]' 1925

 

Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Tête de Paysan Catalan [Head of a Catalan Peasant]
1925
Oil on canvas
92.4 x 73 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Purchased jointly with Tate, with the assistance of the Art Fund 1999

 

René Magritte (1898-1967) 'Le Modèle rouge III (The Red Model III)' 1937

 

René Magritte (1898-1967)
Le Modèle rouge III (The Red Model III)
1937
Oil on canvas
206 x 158 x 5 cm
Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Formerly collection of E. James)
Purchased with the support of The Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), Prins Bernhard Fonds, Erasmusstichting, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht Rotterdam Museum Boymans-van Beuningen Foundation 1979

 

René Magritte (1898-1967) 'La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced)' 1937

 

René Magritte (1898-1967)
La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced)
1937
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
© Beeldrecht Amsterdam 2007
Photographer: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

 

 

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Road
Edinburgh EH4 3DR
Tel: 0131 624 6200

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 6pm

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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27
Jun
09

Exhibition: ‘ARTIST ROOMS: Celmins, Gallagher, Hirst, Katz, Warhol, Woodman’ at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 14th March – 18th November 2009

 

Fancesca Woodman.'From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977' 1977

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977
1977
Gelatin silver print
93 x 93 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Shining brightly in the firmament the star of the show is, undoubtedly, the supremely talented Francesca Woodman. What an artist – both photographer and subject, here and there, enigmatic, sensual, psychotic, beautiful, playful, and desperate. Who is she; who are we.

Baldly put, “Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings… Found objects and suggestive props are carefully placed to create unsettling, surreal or claustrophobic scenarios. Her photographs are produced in thematic series’, relating to specific props, places or situations. In combining performance, play and self-exposure, Woodman’s photographs create extreme and often disturbing psychological states.”

Her photographs are so much more. They promote in the attentive viewer a ghostly insistence that you could be her – in vulnerability, in presence, in fear of suffering, for our death. Who are we that is represented, what is our place in this lonely world, how do we interact with our shadow? “In concealing or encrypting her subjects she reminds the viewer that photographs flatten and distort, never offering the whole truth about a subject.” No. This is no truth.

It is that they offer glimpses of another world, not flattened or distorted, but a lens to focus on the microcosm of the infinite spirit. The personal as universal truth.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Space², Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978' 1975-1978

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Space², Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978
1975-1978
Gelatin silver print on paper
139 x 139 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Throughout 2009, 18 museums and galleries across the UK will be showing over 30 ARTIST ROOMS from the collection created by the dealer and collector, Anthony d’Offay, and acquired by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008. This is the first time a national collection has been shared and shown simultaneously across the UK, and has only been made possible through the exceptional generosity of independent charity The Art Fund and, in Scotland, of the Scottish Government.

The opening displays at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh this spring will include the work of Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Andy Warhol, and Francesca Woodman. Highlights will include Celmins’ beautiful, delicate images of seas, deserts and the night sky, a complete series of landscape and portrait paintings by the American painter Alex Katz and Francesca Woodman’s intimate, surrealist-influenced photographs. Damien Hirst, the most prominent British artist of today, will feature in an expanded display across several rooms. This will bring together works from ARTIST ROOMS – such as the iconic Away from the Flock (an early example of Hirst’s animals in formaldehyde) and a recent butterfly painting – with additional loans from further collections.

The ARTIST ROOMS display at the Gallery of Modern Art is dedicated to Vija Celmins’ ethereal images of seas, deserts and the night sky, a complete series of landscape and portrait paintings by Alex Katz, and Francesca Woodman’s intimate, surrealist-influenced photographs. Photographs by Warhol and paintings by Ellen Gallagher will also be included. Damien Hirst will feature in an expanded display, which will bring together works from ARTIST ROOMS – such as the iconic Away from the Flock and a recent butterfly painting – with additional loans from further collections.

American artist Vija Celmins makes paintings, drawings and prints. Using charcoal, graphite and erasers she produces delicate images based on photographs of the sea, deserts, the night sky and other natural phenomena.

The ARTIST ROOMS collection comprises 24 works on paper by Celmins, including three unique drawings. Web #1 is typical of her fragile images and is the first of nine works on the theme of the spider’s web. It is accompanied by a series of four ‘web’ prints which echo the web-like construction of the universe. Other works in the collection include an important series from the entitled Concentric Bearings which explores different images of turning space.

Celmins works focus on something small and individual in the context of vastness. The images they depict seem fragile because they record a specific human glimpse through a telescope or camera which is temporary and frozen in time. …

Damien Hirst is the most prominent artist to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s. Hirst’s work forces viewers to question their understanding of issues such as the fragility of life, our reluctance to confront death and decay and other dilemmas of human existence.

He is best known for his Natural History works – large-scale sculptures featuring dead animals floating in Minimalist looking vitrines – but also for his mirrored pharmacy cabinets lined with shelves full of evenly spaced drug bottles, pills, sea shells or cigarette butts, and his paintings, which he produces in series.

An example of these, included in ARTIST ROOMS, is the early Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a). Also included in ARTIST ROOMS is the key work Away from the Flock, featuring a sheep floating in formaldehyde. The large butterfly diptych Monument to the Living and the Dead, 2006 was made specifically for ARTIST ROOMS. …

American photographer Francesca Woodman has eighteen rare vintage black and white photographs in ARTIST ROOMS. They have a timeless unique quality. The artist began taking photographs at the age of thirteen and though she was only twenty two when she took her own life, she left behind a substantial body of work.

Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. She puts herself in the frame most often, although these are not conventional self-portraits as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence.

Found objects and suggestive props are carefully placed to create unsettling, surreal or claustrophobic scenarios. Her photographs are produced in thematic series’, relating to specific props, places or situations. In combining performance, play and self-exposure, Woodman’s photographs create extreme and often disturbing psychological states.

Andy Warhol is one of the most influential American artists to emerge in the post-war period. ARTIST ROOMS includes an impressive selection of 232 works which span the artist’s entire work. This display focuses on a group of stitched photographs from the collection.

After graduating and moving to New York in 1949, Warhol quickly became established as one of the city’s most sought after commercial illustrators, working for magazines such as Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. However, it was in the early-sixties that he began to produce the work for which he is most celebrated.

As the most famous proponent of Pop Art, his earliest ‘pop’ works depict consumer goods and images from the press. This evolved to reveal his enduring fascination with celebrity and mortality, with many of his most powerful images touching on these themes.

ARTIST ROOMS comprises a superb array of important works representing all phases of Warhol’s career and a cross-section of media. Warhol explored the medium of photography extensively and began producing stitched photographs in 1986. Returning to his earlier predilection for repetition, Warhol used multiple prints of the same photographs that he then had sewn together to form a composite work of art. By repeating the same image, Warhol could extend the abstract design to the whole work and emphasise the broader significance of what might seem to be peculiarly singular and oddball.”

Text from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website [Online] Cited 25/06/2009 no longer available online

 

Vija Celmins (Latvian-American, b. 1938) 'Web #1' 1999

 

Vija Celmins (Latvian-American, b. 1938)
Web #1
1999
Mezzotint on paper
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Vija Celmins

 

 

Celmins’s intense monochromatic images, based on photographs, focus on small and individual marks in the context of vastness. The images seem fragile because they record a specific human glimpse through a camera which is ephemeral and frozen in time. Celmins’s serial exploration of her subjects, including spider webs, allows the artist to exploit the distinct characteristics of the variety of media she uses. This meticulous, translucent web is typical of her apparently fragile, ephemeral images. These images echo the web-like construction of the universe, a further preoccupation of the artist. Celmins has explained: “Maybe I identify with the spider. I’m the kind of person who works on something forever and then works on the same image again the next day.”

Text from the Tate website

 

Vija Celmins. 'Untitled (Web 1)' 2001

 

Vija Celmins (Latvian-American, b. 1938)
Untitled (Web 1)
2001
Mezzotint on paper
175 x 194 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Vija Celmins

 

Damien Hirst (English, b. 1965) 'Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)' 1994

 

Damien Hirst (English, b. 1965)
Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)
1994
Acrylic paint on canvas
Support: 1220 x 1224 x 40 mm
Frame: 1307 x 1303 x 81 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

 

 

This canvas is constructed using a grid of dots of different colours, accompanied by letters in alphabetical order that seem to dissect and reorganise the very matter of painting into cells. Hirst has said that he only painted five of his spot paintings himself, since he found them so boring to paint and could not do them as well as his assistants. But the key thing about these works is their conceptual clarity – the potentiality of making an infinite number and variety of paintings, based on size and colour of the dots and size and shape of the canvases. Like Andy Warhol, whom Hirst greatly admires, Hirst has set up a sort of factory with assistants to help him make his works of arts. Like Warhol, Hirst retains central control of what and how it is produced.

Text from the Tate website

 

Damien Hirst (English, b. 1965) 'Away from the flock' 1995

 

Damien Hirst (English, b. 1965)
Away from the flock
1995
Glass, stainless steel, Perspex, acrylic paint, lamb and formaldehyde solution
960 x 1490 x 510 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2019

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Eel Series, Roma, May-August 1977' 1977

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Eel Series, Roma, May 1977 – August 1978
1977
Gelatin silver print
219 x 219 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Woodman lies naked, in a vulnerable state, the curve of her body echoing the curved form of the eel. She has printed several similar versions of this image with her body on either side of the eel. While Woodman was studying in Rome between 1977 and 1978 she came into contact with the Symbolist work of Max Klinger, whose influence can be seen in this series. The image is sexually charged, yet in placing herself on both sides of the camera Woodman hovers between being in control and being defenceless, exploring the ways in which femininity can be portrayed. The photograph is not a self-portrait in the conventional sense, as it explores the possibilities of representation, instead of revealing the artist’s identity.

Text from the Tate website

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled, 1975-1980' 1975-1980

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Untitled, 1975-1980
1975-1980
Gelatin silver print on paper and ink
144 x 144 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled, 1975-1980' 1975-1980

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Untitled, 1975-1980
1975-1980
Gelatin silver print on paper
141 x 140 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Crouched against a dilapidated interior, Woodman conceals her face with her hand. The combination between the vintage pattern of her dress and the peeling wall behind her create an antique, romantic air. Woodman’s photographs exhibit many influences, from Symbolism and Surrealism to fashion photography and Baroque painting. She explores issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. Woodman usually puts herself in the frame, although these are not conventional self-portraits, since as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence. This underlying fragility is emphasised by the small and intimate format of the photographs.

 

ARTISTS ROOMS Essay

American photographer Francesca Woodman has eighteen rare vintage black and white photographs in ARTIST ROOMS, acquired from a collection once owned by the artist’s boyfriend. Woodman’s photographs exhibit many influences, from symbolism and surrealism to fashion photography and Baroque painting. They have a timeless quality that is ethereal and unique.

The artist began taking photographs at the age of thirteen, and though she was only twenty two when she took her own life, she left behind a substantial body of work. Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings.

She puts herself in the frame most often, although these are not conventional self-portraits as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence. This underlying vulnerability is further emphasised by the small and intimate format of the photographs. We often see her in otherwise deserted interior spaces, where her body seems to merge with its surroundings, covered by sections of peeling wallpaper, half hidden behind the flat plane of a door, or crouching over a mirror. Found objects and suggestive props are carefully placed to create unsettling, surreal or claustrophobic scenarios.

Her photographs are produced in thematic series, relating to specific props, places or situations. Woodman was exposed to the symbolic work of Max Klinger whilst studying in Rome from 1977-78 and his influence can clearly be seen in many photographic series, such as Eel Series, Roma and Angel Series, Roma.

In combining performance, play and self-exposure, Woodman’s photographs create extreme and often disturbing psychological states. In concealing or encrypting her subjects she reminds the viewer that photographs flatten and distort, never offering the whole truth about a subject.

Text from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website [Online] Cited 05/03/2019

 

Andy Warhol. 'Trash cans' 1986

 

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
Trash cans
1986
4 photographs, gelatin silver print on paper and thread
Support: 698 x 543 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

 

 

Warhol’s stitched photographs depict a wide range of subjects including signs, objects, celebrities, nude models and buildings. Trash Cans is one of many that focus on everyday and ordinary objects and can be related to some of Warhol’s best-known pop works, in which common objects and consumer goods (for example Brillo boxes, Coca-Cola bottles, and Campbell’s soup cans) are isolated from their everyday context so as to foreground their individual aesthetic value. Many of Warhol’s pop works are also composed of repetitious images, for example his screenprints in which identical images are repeated numerous times across a canvas, such as Marilyn Diptych 1962 (Tate T03093). It is thus useful to compare Trash Cans with Warhol’s screenprints featuring multiple images of Campbell’s soup cans – especially given the similarities between the shapes of the different receptacles.

Text from the Tate website

 

Andy Warhol. 'I am blind' 1976-1986

 

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
I am blind
1976-1986
9 photographs, gelatin silver print on paper
Frame: 1315 x 1066 x 26 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

 

Andy Warhol. 'Venus in Shell' 1976-1986

 

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
Venus in Shell
1976-1986
4 photographs, gelatin silver print on paper and thread
Object: 700 x 542 mm
Acquired jointly with the Tate through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

 

 

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Opening hours:
Open daily, 10am-5pm
Admission free

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

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