Well, Sonia Delaunay, you did surprise me!

Thought the reviews were really positive for this exhibition at Tate Modern but they did not really say a great deal about the three murals that I absolutely loved!

Another informative and well curated exhibition – I really like visiting Tate Modern because of this – so had high hopes and yes, it all started well with one of the best nudes I have ever seen… and I don’t often say that:

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Yellow Nude, 1908

Sometimes, you forget that when a painting was exhibited, people may have been surprised, shocked or even outraged.  To me, the skin tones here seem right but, at the time, people were stunned to see this combination of colour being used.  The cool blue/greens play with the shadows and her use of the black outline – influenced by Gaughin – create a mask-like portrait.

Obviously, her move, along with her husband, Robert Delaunay, to abstraction is the main focus of the exhibition.  Although not overly keen on fashion and textiles, it was interesting to see how she adapted and moved into that field.

However, my favourite section was the Paris, 1937 exhibition room where the Delaunays exhibited three large-scale panels depcition a propellor, an engine and an instrument panel of a airplane.  These were stunning and the way in which they combines the schematic drawings of these machine parts with their use of simultaneous colour-contrasts was magnificent.  You did feel that they captured a real sense of celebration of scientific innovation at that time.

“Hélice-décoration-pour-le-«-Palais-de-l’Air-»-Exposition-Internationale-des-Arts-et-Techniques-Paris”-1937 244 image

One thing that did strike me while going round listening to the audio commentary was how a music soundtrack would have worked with this particular exhibition.  Some ‘musique concrete’ pieces, along with syncopated jazz, Spanish Flamenco and the Tango would have enhanced the experience further.    The celebrated Bal Bullier would really have worked well with music as it depicts the ballroom where Sonia spent many hours observing the dancers.  The figures emerge from the background and you have a real sense of movement, joy and sensuality when you can see how the dancers cling to one another as the dance progresses.

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You definitely leave this exhibition on a high and would like to suggest coffee afterwards, not before!!

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