Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Modern Couples at the Barbican


Auguste Rodin was in a relationship with Camille Claudel from 1882 to 1892 while this work was being created. Jane Alison curator writes, "While their professional and intimate relationship fuelled their inspiration for a decade, Claudel ultimately sought her creative independence from Rodin. She continued to pursue a new direction in her own work until 1905, but their final break up and her precarious financial situation aggravated her mental health. At her family’s request, she was incarcerated in 1913 and passed away in 1943 after 30 years of solitary exile." 

At the Barbican Art Center we met our artist friends Boyd and Evans to see  Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde. But what we really ended up doing was reading about the couples included in this show as there was very little visual stimulus.   The curator of this show Jane Alison  somehow managed to take artist couples who were undoubtedly full of exotic erotic sexual deeds and extracted the driest possible images of their lives together. There is a famous movie from the 70's called No Sex Please, We're British and it appears that sex is often the subject of the show but seems to also be absent from the exhibition. Over 50 couples are explored in so many rooms that we all had crossed eyes and visual indigestion. 

But when I was studying art history, I was taught little about the lives of the artists. This gathering of data made me concentrate on the relationships that existed while works of art were being created.  The text is very educational but reading it in the comfort of your own home is a much improved way of getting this information. You can have practically the same experience I did just Download the Large Print Exhibition Guide

There are a few exceptions. Tamara de Lempicka as part of the lesbian  group encouraged by  Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is represented by the image below. Although we see the works of Frida Kohla, Barbara Hepworth and Georgia O'Keefe, most of the women in this display were less well known that their male counterpoints. So it was good to see them take equal stage space at the Barbican.


Tamara de Lempicka
Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí are described thus, "The extent of their sexual relationship is unclear." But letters to Lorca from Dali include, "You are a Christian storm and you are in need of some of my paganism [...] I will go get you and give you some seaside medicine. It will be winter and we will light a fire. The poor beasts will be trembling with the cold. You will recall that you are an inventor of marvelous things and we will live together with a portrait machine..." 



I enjoyed reading about Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt who had a relationship between 1892–1918.  Flöge was a fashion designer in Vienna and " for a short time at least they were also romantically involved."  It was easy to imagine the dresses she designed on his models. "They were also fervent advocators of the Secession’s promotion of the Gesamtkunstwerk or ‘total work of art’ that championed an integration of art and design in every aspect of life."  We saw many artist teams, which were activist. 








Images in this blog are not always the images in the show since no photography was allowed. I have used illustrations available online 

1 comment:

  1. great coverage of important relationships. There are many more women yet to be acknowledged.

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