Third time to visit the Modigliani and Kabakov exhibits at the Tate Modern. As the shows both come to the end the crowds have gotten heavier.
The Kabokov comes from the heart of the soviet era, but is situated clearly in outsider territory. Lacking in quality supplies they often made do with what they had, and possibly (it seems to me, anyway) because the lack of material inhibited fast action, they rushed headlong into conceptual art. This sometimes forced the ideas themselves to become the central focus of the work, sometimes to the extent that the work itself remains a plan or a story bereft of its physical manifestations. They still managed to create a huge portfolio of very real, very concise artwork including large room installations, ceiling high scaffolded ladders to the angels, life-size trolley facades and a spiralling maze of Soviet pseudo folk stories.
I once again didn’t spend as much time reading as I’d have liked. The long hall needs time and several visits. The books were still off-limits.
The Modigliani on the other hand came at a time when most of the avant garde (not official, but the forefront of the time) had established a firm home in Europe. Modigliani came and absorbed everyone and everything in sight, The influence of his peers is pushed to the fore of his canvases. Portraits of the artists that reify those persons’ most salient idioms show that most clearly. His love of feminine form overshadows everything he does.
Modigliani’s overt and enthusiastic display of how his friends and cohorts helped to develop his style is something I need to welcome into my own process. I often shy away from it if I recognize it too early in the game.
I’ve been listening to this a bit, Adrian Moore’s Séquences et tropes. Maybe I’ll hear it in my own work this time.
(cover art, as always, Adrian Moore)