Once upon a time, everyone knew what a self portraits was: an artist’s painting of his or her own face . In earlier centuries, they made them for a patron, for experimentation , for reproduction as a print, or as a way for prospective clients to assess the artist’s skill by comparing the real with the painted self portrait. Search engines still accept this definition. Type in how to paint a self portrait and you will be overwhelmed with advice involving mirrors, the placement of facial features and hints at how to trap a likeness. And yet when you look around this exhibition, this definition crumbles. Even the images that look traditional are not what they seem on the surface. Andre Breton’s self portrait was made by an automatic photography machine in 1924 and Linder’s image was taken by the photographer Christine Birrer in 1981. In both these cases, the Read the full article.
We all hold an image of a life class in our heads: a naked human holding a pose in front of a group of clothed students silently transposing what they see into pencil, paint or charcoal. Jeremy Deller calls the lifeclass the bedrock of art and art history. “The life class is a special place in which to scrutinize the human form. As the bedrock of art education and art history, it is still the best way to understand the body’. But what does bedrock actually mean? To most people, mastery of the nude proves the artist’s ability to draw properly, ‘properly’ meaning in a realistic manner. And that is certainly part of it. But the life class has a bigger history, one yoked as tightly to the history of post Renaissance western art as the hand that holds the pencil. Authority for the life class can be traced back Read the full article.
Pierre Bergian paints empty rooms. Well, not completely empty. Sometimes there is a solitary piece of furniture, a ladder, a piano, a table, but these seem to do little more than add to the emptiness. ‘My paintings are a little similar to still lives,’ he says.’Emptiness fascinates me.’ Or perhaps peace would be a better word to describe what this Belgian artist creates on canvas. Lacking a chair and a musical score, the only notes the piano suggests are yet to be played or belong to the past, facts which add to the silence rather than filling it. Empty they may be, but they are full of atmosphere. ‘My paintings are simply poetic; I am not interested in any conceptual meaning.’ They are also full of light. ‘Being interested in light is not exceptional for a painter. But I never paint artificial light. I love sunshine coming into a room Read the full article.
As you step off the escalator on the fifth floor of Tate Modern, you come face to face with a time line of twentieth century art. And there, written high on the wall under the heading Feminism, is the name Judy Chicago, one of a select group of five women the Tate sees as responsible for art’s swerve into previously untravelled territory. The most famous of the works that earned her that writing on the wall is The Dinner Party, 1979 , a huge triangular installation 48 feet long on each side with 39 place settings celebrating 39 noted women and with a further 999 names inscribed on the porcelain floor providing a historic context for the women represented at the table. Sitting at home in Islington in 1980, I received an excited phone call from my husband in San Francisco reporting that an extraordinarily long queue was waiting to Read the full article.