Monday, 18 May 2015

Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern

So much colour! Even in the first pair of rooms, the Fauving was pretty extreme as first-decade-of-20th-century portraits were essentially vehicles for Sonia Delaunay's experiments in colour Simultanism. This is the important term we learn at Tate Modern's Delaunay retrospective, the idea that juxtaposed colours have different colours than when they stand alone. The result might have taken her down a cubist path: instead she blew her experimenting wide open to include textiles. Commissions for clothing designs followed and, up the the second world war, work was plentiful.

As you begin to come back on yourself on the 3rd floor of the Tate though, things seem to have stalled. The panels for the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology in Modern Life aside, there does not appear to be much development of her style beyond the darkening of the palette. Perhaps the designs and colouring of the Madrid period work (either side of 1920-ish) were a sufficiently pungent template. I loved the Flamenco pictures and some of the 1920s Parisian fashion designs. And then I got a little tired.

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