23 April 2014

Colour on a grey day, thanks to Matisse

Within days of the exhibition opening we went to see Matisse's Cut Outs at Tate Modern. It was wonderfully colourful - of course - and quite lifted the spirits on a rainy day!

The famous book Jazz - which was based on theatres and circuses, not on music - was laid out around one room, with the original papercuts above. Matisse was disappointed with the way the printing lost the contrast of different surfaces layered on top of each other; he said that printing "removes their sensitivity", and it's interesting to be able to compare and try to see his point of view. The book has 20 illustrations, and 146 pages - the rest are filled with large script, his hand-written notes, made as he worked -
page-spread from Jazz (1943) (via)
That falling figure appears in other work - for instance my favourite of the prints available in the shop -
The Ascher scarves seen in the Artists Textiles show at the Fashion and Textile Museum were also at the Tate -
L'escarpe (1947) (via)
Matisse would compose his cut-outs directly on the wall of his studio in Vence, southern France, and he originally conceived of this group as one whole composition. In the exhibition they were framed separately, most shown together on one wall.

The Blue Nudes have a room of their own. Four were made quickly, but one was the result of lots of experimenting.
Cut 'in a single movement' (via the BBC's review, where you can see a video of the show)
"The Bees" (summer, 1948) though made of little squares, has the sense of captured movement and flow that exists in his freely-cut works -
"There are Matisse miracles here, some of them surprising" says this review
Some of the works are very large, "Mermaid and Parakeet" for example -
All of the works are wonderfully colourful, and the negative space is easily overlooked but crucial.

After getting an eyeful, we headed over the Millennium Bridge, only to find our eyes fixed on the colourful umbrellas among the crowd of black ones -

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