Saturday today, and at last day off to fully enjoy!
Once up I was in the mood for a bike ride up to the Tate Modern and finally visit the exhibition Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, on until May 27th. Unfortunately, after days of glorious sunshine, here in London it’s time of rain again and I sadly felt to go back to our always overcrowded underground. At least I arrived there before, that was not bad considering all the visitors that were there and the waiting hours to enter the exhibition!
The exhibition is devoted to the central figure of American pop art, Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997). One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Lichtenstein broke with the abstract expressionism and went up with a new concept of painting inspired by comics strips, advertising and mass culture imagery. This exhibition features his works dividing them in some categories. These are the ones I preferred the most:
Since Lichtenstein struggled with abstract expressionism, he started experiment with cartoons and begun to incorporate into his art comic books and other commercial content. This is the period of Look Mickey (1961)
War and Romance
Probably one of my favorites, this series of works are inspired by melodramatic stories about war and love. They provoked reactions in the cultural world and have also become his successful works that made him famous. Drowning Girl (1963) and Whaam! (1963)
Landscapes / Seascapes
In these paintings the artist has experimented with lines and optical effects, thanks to the almost total absence of subjects in them and therefore the freedom to represent abstract scene with new techniques. Sunset (1964)
Art about Art
Simultaneously to his works based on cartoons and advertisements, Lichtenstein also has been inspired by artists of the past. This series of works are in fact an appropriation, stylisation or even parody of artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Piet Mondrian. This recreation of art are a rephrasing of famous works in Lichtenstein’s visual language. I found them amazing! Peace through Chemistry (1970)
These are some paintings that the artist created for his Artist’s Studio series of 1973-4. They are complex illustrations consisting of many forms and elements, presenting different studio views in pop style. Some of them are inspired by other artist and have inside the rooms some previous paintings of Lichtenstein itself. Artist’s Studio ‘Look Mickey’ (1973)
Lichtenstein also has embraced one of the most popular genres of art, nude. However, he depicted women without strip them, but imagining them as nude. This different approach is an integral part of the peculiarities of his paintings. Blue Nude (1995)
Probably there is no need to say that Lichtenstein is a great artist and this exhibition definitely worth the visit. I was thrilled by these paintings and a few sculptures, which I had never seen live.
Despite the apparent superficiality of his paintings, these works are a deep intellectual approach to society through the power of stylized shapes, colors and words.