Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Make no bones about it late nights at the Tate are busy, but if you can zone out and focus on the work in front out you then it’s worth it. Art in the evening is a treat, beats going to the pub, in fact it fills the time between going home and going to the pub, which is better. We snacked at Wasabi and I tasted my first eel sushi, I don’t like eel, it scares me, the spicy salmon was rather good though.
Fortunately for me my friend had a Tate pass we waltzed to the front of the exhibition, no timed entry. 11 rooms dedicated to one man work, Paul Gauguin’s art reflects his dramatic life, bright colours, dark ladies, nudity and morbid fascination. Controversially ahead of the time, (1850’s to 1900’s) unabashed by preconceived notions of decency. He travelled extensively migrating over Europe with his family, whom he later ditched and his career as a banker to pursue his passion as a painter. This journey took him to distant places, Martinique, Tahiti, yet Gauguin was experienced at such jaunts having lived in Peru as a small boy. These environments play a huge role in the content and style of his work.
Gauguin returned to his homeland spending time in Brittany and Paris where he was inspired to paint idyllic Breton landscapes. Gauguin was reportedly involved in an argument, which leads to Van Gogh visiting a prostitute and famously chopping his ear off. A large exhibition, with an engaging back story, the appendices that contextualise Gauguin’s work are particularly strong. Photographs of exotic women barely clothed, diaries, maps charting his mammoth journeys and his research, sketches, which showed the development of an image into a million pound painting. He was known for his alcoholism, bouts of depression and fixation with the native women. Gauguin died penniless, syphilis ridden on route to prison, far away from his family.