Tag Archives: collage
If you want a life affirming experience, tear yourself away from the computer and get thee to Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern. Comprising around 120 of Matisse’s fragile paper works, this is the first time this many of the iconic cut-outs have been shown together. The opportunity has not been wasted, with the works displayed in airy rooms that give ample space to these energetic and colourful pieces.
As the story goes, Henri Matisse’s most famous cut-outs were realised in his 70s when, having enjoyed a successful painting career, cancer surgery left him weak and immobile. But the artist had to create so he devised a way to ‘paint’ using paper and scissors, cutting directly into paper that had been coloured by assistants with bright gouache, then pinning and repining on the walls around his bedroom and studio.
However, this was in fact not Matisse’s first experience with cut-outs. As the exhibition’s first room shows, the technique was initially used as a practical planning method, to help figure out the placement of objects in his still life paintings. On display are the earlier pieces and it’s a great opportunity to see them up close, pin holes and all and often with the pins still in place.
The second and third rooms are dedicated to the famous Dancers and Jazz cut-outs. I particularly love the display cases that show the Jazz works printed in a book beneath the framed original ‘maquettes’.
The pictures were meant to be accompanied by poems but the publisher opted for Matisse’s own illustrative and poetic handwritten notes instead. Running along all four walls of the room, this display of colour, shape and huge, rhythmic script is full of life. Alas, Matisse didn’t like the way that the reproduced versions of his art erased the subtlety of layered paper – god knows what he would feel about his work being discoursed through the medium of the computer screen!
Of course, the large scale pieces are the best known and they’re here in all their mesmerising glory. These naïve, organic shapes depicting plants, water and birds were a way for Matisse to feel part of nature even when housebound. The simplicity of these shapes belie the process that Matisse and his assistants went through, painstakingly arranging and rearranging until the desired expression was achieved.
It can’t be denied that we’re in the throes of a Matisse fashion moment right now and this exhibition will be as popular with fashion designers, makeup artists and graphic designers as art students and art lovers (the entrance price is the only downer, a whopping £18). For example, the designs on display that Matisse created for the cover of Verve magazine look as fresh now as they did in 1937 and as for the primary-hued Jazz pieces, well the Celine comparisons have already been made.
Expect the impact to last beyond one season though. This cheering show comes at a time when society’s mood is ready to be lifted. Sixty years after his death, I wonder if these Matisse cut-outs might make a deeper mark on our psyches.
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is at Tate Modern until 7th September. It will tour to the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 14th October to 9th February 2015.
I could write a thesis-length post on Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby’s epic joint AW14 collection, but I won’t. Instead I recommend you read all about in Tim Blanks’ Style.com report. Or just enjoy the pictures. Suffice to say, the conceptual art student is alive and kicking on the catwalk and if you love collage, Pollock-meets-Clash paint splatters, Lichtenstein primary colours and provocative wordplay, then it’s all here for ya, wrapped up in dun-coloured cashmere and nubby tweed. Continue reading
A few months ago I was invited to design a T-shirt for Marc Cain SS14 along the theme of ‘Pink… From Paris to Tokyo’. I’ve never designed a T-shirt before but one of the suggestions was a collage, so I didn’t need to be asked twice.
I decided to focus on stamps and ephemera from my scrapbooks but I had to improvise a little (a lot) as I didn’t have as much French and Japanese material as I imagined. And then it transpired that stamps aren’t as copyright-free as I thought they were so there was a lot of trial and error. Zut alors! But that’s the creative process, right? I initially wanted a unisex, surfy-skaty shaped tee with a bubblegum pink background and an allover print, but the end result is a lot cleaner and more commercial. Here’s a peek at my creative journey…
Satisfying my love of all things cut-n-paste and collagy, Emma Cook’s AW13 collection has just dropped at Net-a-Porter.com. To celebrate, do enjoy this playful mini-film bursting with trippy cut-out flowers, dinosaurs, crystals, tigers and stellar constellations that reflect the surrealist influences of the collection. (Then nip over to Net-a-Porter to get the look…)
Emma Cook satin bomber, £400
Showing at the Saatchi Gallery this weekend is Collect, the annual international art fair from The Craft Council, now in its 10th year. Go up to the top floor and you’ll find the Project Space, an area highlighting the conceptual work of eleven artists whose work bridges the gap between art and craft. Among them is Hormazd Narielwalla who is exhibiting five ‘Love Gardens’ sculptures, based on discarded military suit patterns. Continue reading
Creating beauty from urban detritus. Robert Rauschenberg did it, Peter Blake did it, Eduardo Paolozzi did it, but well before them, Kurt Schwitters built his deliciously layered collage art from found materials. He even invented a name for it – ‘Merz’ – which described his equal opportunities approach to creativity, in which all artists materials and techniques had the same value. Continue reading