During my visit to London I visited the Tate Britain and Tate Modern. In these galleries I saw various artists and works. I have noted down some of the artists and works that stood out to me the most and influenced me the most.
The first art work I saw was Kurt Schwitters, (Relief in Relief) Oil on wood and plaster, C.1942-5. Kurt Schwitters developed idiosyncratic forms of collage that combined the discarded ephemera of everyday life such as bus tickets and labels with other materials, coining the nonsense term Merz to describe his technique. I have always been interested in Schwitters work due to the use of everyday objects and how they come together to form a piece of relief art. I love the layers and the forms created in his work, and how they interlock with each other.
Another artist I saw was Barbara Hepworth, Sculpture with colour (deep blue and red), 1942, Plaster. This sculpture is one of a series of works following the same form that Hepworth made in plaster before carving a final piece into wood. I find Hepworth’s sculptures engaging, there is something natural about the forms but then the deep blue and red colours bring out a synthetic feel. And it’s that vibrant colour which makes the piece pop to draw you in. I love the use of bold colour alongside the natural forms.
The next piece I was drawn to was this sculpture by Peter Lanyon, Construction for ‘St Just’, 1952, Glass, perspex and stainless steel. The title was originally conceived as a crucifixion but named for the town at the heart of west Cornwall’s tin mining industry. The painted glass construction has been seen to echo the pithead equipment at such mines and also the black lines of telegraph wires that then criss-crossed the town. I love the linear work here and how the sculpture looks fragile and built upon these lines holding the panels together.
This work is by Cildo Meireles, Babel 2001, is a tower of radios all playing at once, which addresses ideas of information overload and failed communication. Babel 2001 is a large-scale sculptural installation that takes the form of a circular tower made from hundreds of second-hand analogue radios that the artist has stacked in layers. The radios are tuned to a multitude of different stations and are adjusted to the minimum volume at which they are audible. Nevertheless, they compete with each other and create a cacophony of low, continuous sound, resulting in inaccessible information, voices or music. When I walked into this room I couldn’t bear the noise, it was wonderfully awful. It made me think of communication and each radio being a human being with different languages and sounds all trying to be heard and battling for the top place. To me this sculpture seemed very political.
One room which really stood out to me was the ‘Beyond Pop’ room in the Media and networks floor. I am going to be researching and writing about Pop Art for my dissertation because it’s one movement that is close to my heart, so this room was influential for me. In my dissertation I hope to explore the idea of branding and how this was seen as positive of negatively.
The last object I found myself drawn to was Louise Nevelson, An American Tribute to the British People, 1960-4, painted wood. Nevelson worked on this assemblage over a number of years, continually recomposing the found objects within it. When she donated it to the Tate gallery, her dealer described it as one of her favourite works, adding; ‘Mrs Nevelson does, in fact feel that this particular work is especially appropriate for your monarchical country. It’s cathedral-like aspect, which seems to present the viewer with an alter at which to kneel, perhaps to receive some royal blessing, and its gilded splendor … were considered peculiarly appropriate’. I am becoming more interested in found objects in art and how they are taken from another environment to become apart of a new object entirely.