A major new exhibition opened at Tate Liverpool last night. Keith Haring was an artist and activist in New York throughout the eighties. Initially famed for chalk outline drawings on subway advertising boards he quickly moved on to much larger pieces, making commentary on the issues of the day. Highlighting the spread of AIDS and promoting safe sex whilst railing against the media, racism, homophobia and neo-nazis.
The work is incredibly vibrant and has a great sense of movement and depth. I had been familiar with some of his work for some time, his stylized stick men will be known to many, but was unaware of how deep and varied his work was. It really is a fantastic body of work, brought into focus by his untimely death in 1990 aged just 31.
The exhibition features 85 artworks and includes video, music and photographs and runs until 10th November. Go see!
Love his art or loathe it; but the price it commands is phenomenal and for fans of Bacon, this is a worthy exposition to see. This acclaimed exhibition does however, shed some light on the techniques of this most mysterious and confounding of artists.
It’s a must for all budding artists in Liverpool.
‘Invisible Rooms’, the title Tate Liverpool give to the display, shows a stunning exhibition of the painters works with an extensive selection of sketches, many discovered on the floors and workstation of his South Kensington studio after his death in 1992.
This exhibition is a treasure trove of delight to meet the eyes, with sketches of boxers, wrestlers and crouching caged figures.
This is truly a working display of an artist which helps get you, to enter into the mind of Francis Bacon.
You see lists of his ideas hastily scrawled on bits of paper, covers of books, scraps of paper, all in almost illegible handwriting not unlike shopping lists, but these are the vital ingredients that give us today, a recipe for some of the greatest 20th century British figurative paintings we now know.
At first glance, these portraits look disturbing and vastly distorted but the artwork and compositions of distortion, take us beyond physical appearances and into a psychological interpretation.
Perhaps that’s why I and so many others are drawn into his world and to this exhibition that shows just how Bacon manipulated his source material, producing scenes most shocking and depraved but condensing the content, intensifying the figures and creating for them a new and unsettling platform.
Perhaps this is the mark of a genius and why so many are attracted to so much of his work.
The works make you want to look behind the canvas and interpret with your own feelings and emotions the truth that lies facing us in that portraiture which we stir wide eyed at for a few minutes. You are taken in. You are drawn into this exhibition like an addiction.
So many of the works on display give the impressions of cages around the central figures. ‘Study For A Portrait’ from 1949 gives the onlooker the idea of the Nuremberg trials, showing Nazi war criminals boxed behind glass. Emotion and high energy feelings at their highest seem to radiate from the works on display….. torture, violence, desperation, unhappiness, wretchedness all speak to the viewer as you try to unravel the mysteries and meanings behind the distortion the artist has created.
Did Bacon have a ‘heart of darkness’?
Take a trip to the Tate Liverpool and view ‘Invisible Rooms’, and see if you can unleash the answers to the stories hidden in the captured gaping mouths, silent screams of rage and grotesque distorted bodies on display in this wicked collection until September 18th.
Don’t miss viewing the popular, terrifying depiction of Velazquez’s ‘Portrait Of Pope Innocent X’, that’s if you can push to the front of the crowd of visitors who throng to see this subject sitting as if strapped to an electric chair, mouth wide open so that his scream is almost audible.
This is an extremely popular show with visitor tickets also permitting entry to Tate Liverpool’s exhibition of work by Austrian painter Maria Lassnig.
This Christmas I would like to share the #AMemoryShared campaign, to raise awareness in the value, the sharing of memories with our friends, families and those loved ones we care for can be.
Please, take some time to spread the message far and wide this Christmas; an ideal time to sit down with someone you love and care for, to have a chat, and create a special moment, sharing some memories to help enrich their lives and the lives of people close to them.
Shared memories are important to us all, especially at Christmas time, a time of coming together, a time of breaking down barriers and opening up our hearts and homes to friends and family.
Using the @house_memories app to help people reminisce and dissolve the feelings of loneliness can certainly be an aid in this journey.
‘House of Memories’ began as a dementia awareness training programme in 2012, and has to date trained 10,000 carers across the country.
The programme now includes the ‘My House of Friends App’, a FREE digital memory resource for iPads and other tablets.
It is the first of its kind in the world and has been co-created by people living with dementia and their carers.
Supported by LJMU, researchers have created a compilation of valuable visual historical images using resource banks at the Liverpool Museum, ranging from the Blitz to the Swinging Sixties.
This magical cocktail of pictures, relays and triggers human interest emotions in the brain cells and activates excitement and empathy with the viewers “times past” experiences.
The more the visual stimulation with these experiences, the more the delayed onset of dementia and mental illness.
This constant recall, plus the added bonus of social interaction with the app, creates an all round winner in combating the illness.
Having used this, easy to use device on a number of occasions with ageing relatives, I can well vouch for todays brilliant use of digital technology in helping stave off loneliness and dementia.
It’s an easy, practical no nonsense gadget that can be handled quite easily both in home and about town.
A magnificent present for anyone!
‘House of Memories’
Contact: Communications Manager at National Museums Liverpool
0151 478 4615