24 July 2013

Wandering on Cork Street

The Cork Street area has long been one of the main concentrations of commercial galleries in London - conveniently, it's a short hop between air-conditioned venues on a warm day. You never know what you might come across...

We started at Stephen Friedman, which had Jiro Takematsu's minimalist work
work by Jiro Takematsu (1936-1998)
then went "up the road" to Hauser & Wirth, which was showing two (more) artists new to me - Takesada Matsutani, who was part of the Japanese Gutai movement in the 1960s, and Subodh Gupta, who lives and works in New Delhi and makes installations of everyday objects.

In the background, Takesada Matsutani's "Stream-10",
10 metres of graphite, with turpentine thrown on the end (via)
Subodh Gupta's "titanic boat" (via)
Intrigued by a print in the window of Rossi & Rossi, we were less impressed with Ma Desheng's large paintings of rocks and nudes, and surprised to see the artist - and his interpreter - in the gallery, having seen him talking about his work on a video with French subtitles. He was born in Beijing and part of the Star group (Ai Wei Wei was another member), but now lives in Paris.
Prints by Ma Desheng (via)
Alan Cristea had a selection not only of Matisse prints (and Christiane Baumgartner woodcuts, and Vicken Parsons small paintings) but five works from Picasso's 347 Series - made in just seven months; in the etchings, he really pushed the sugar lift process -
An African Art gallery has sprung up -  looking up Wosene Worke Kosrof, I wish we'd gone in. Kosrof was born in Ethiopia and uses the calligraphic elements of Amharic script in his paintings.
works by Wosene Worke Kosrof
Leon Underwood (1890-1975) has been called "the precursor of modern sculpture in Britain" - of his paintings and prints, I enjoyed the linocuts and woodcuts' use of colour -
Leon Underwood, "Charro meets charro"
He used African themes and Mexican scenes, and one of his watercolours was in the RA Mexico exhibition, though I didn't really notice it at the time.

High spot of the tour was the Robert Motherwell collages -
 among which my favourite was the one with intricate shades of red -
Robert Motherwell, "The Redness of Red"
One topic of discussion was the usefulness of frames - being put in a frame can make something that otherwise looks "ordinary" or even neglibible into an Art Statement -
Jiro Takematsu, "Tape" (via)
Don't forget the signature, either.

On my way to the tube I stopped in at Marlborough to see the Kitaj prints (ends 27 July). Usually reflections make it impossible to photograph work that is under glass, but the lighting in the gallery and reflections from the street rather enhance this one -
 Upstairs, the Contemporary section was filled by installation -
"More than I dare to think about" opens 25 July

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