Blue, blue,electric blue: Yves Klein – Exhibition at Tate Liverpool

Cannot get Bowie’s Sound and Vision out of my head following this week’s culture visit. 
Having seen one of Klein’s blue canvases at the Pompidou Centre, I was intrigued to see what a whole room would look like and what you find on the top floor of Tate Liverpool is actually mind-blowing. 

International Klein Blue dominates but if you think it will be cold and uninviting, you could not be more wrong. The more you look into this void, the more you want to immerse yourself in its warm, deep embrace. The canvases shimmer and it is only the glass covering that stops you from plunging in. 

On some, he stuck sea sponges which do give a sense of being under the sea, being part of something living, breathing. 

Most famously, or infamously, depending on your point of view were the canvases made by using ‘living brushes’. Naked models, smothered in IKB and writhing around on paper to a 20 minute, one chord, orchestral accompaniment might sound a little pervy and the videos do hint at that, but the results were breathtaking. 

Sit with this huge work and I defy you not to fall in love with the sheer madness of Klein’s ideas. These shapes morph and surge across your view; totally relaxing the mind. Art as therapy was never more apt. 

Oh, and he also liked using flames to create images, but that’s another story you can find in room 2! 


Would you credit it-I like Pollock! 

Of all the art movements I’ve been trying to get to grips with, Abstract Expressionism is the one I have hadthe most  trouble with. I’ve been thinking it’s like reading James Joyce. His early works are like the Impressionists, you understand the story but the language blurs that understanding at times. Then you move onto Ulysses, which is like the Cubists and Surrealists where each chapter takes a slightly different standpoint, but there is still a narrative. And then you hit Finnegan’s Wake which is impenetrable without a guidebook telling you what it means. 

Today I took advantage of my Tate Membership to attend the Members’ preview at Tate Liverpool for ‘Jackson Pollock:Blind Spots’ -a title that was completely apt in my case.   Pollock’s drip paintings seemed a bit angry to me and I had always sighed and did the ‘anyone can do that’ face.  Wrong! ‘Anyone’ cannot do this and they are not remotely angry either.  

The exhibition begins by putting some perspective on his work and I very much liked ‘Number 3, 1949: Tiger’ which reminded me of Rosseau’s work and suddenly Pollock didn’t seem so scary. Cue a little victory dance!  



When you examine the ‘black’ paintings, their fluidity and movement is quite pronounced. I saw this with Mark Rothko recently and I have become more aware of the paint on the canvas and the way different media react to primed and unprimed canvases or on papers.  When Pollock chose to use unprimed canvases, you can see the way the paint bleeds and gives a variety of edges and this was quite exciting.  It creates a range of effects from blurring the lines to creating marble effect. The use of enamel paint does give the work an impression of still being wet, which is somewhat eerie. 

There seemed to be quite a link to Picasso with two canvases: Number 14 and Untitled: Silver Square.  This one: Number 14, is reminiscent of Guernica, with its reclining figures writhing on the canvas.  

There were so many interesting works here and it was fantastic to be able to have more of an understanding into this particular movement, and Pollock’s place in it.  

Just as a side note, there are also a few sculptures and the very first one he did ‘Stone Head’ from 1933 is sublime and it does make you want to take it our of the case to cradle it in your hand.  
The final room was Pollock’s work on paper, particulary Japanese Mulberry Paper and these were quite beautiful and gentle, with an oriental flavour to them which may or may not be coincidental.  

A great exhibition and one I’ll go back to later in the summer for another peruse. 




Art Turning Left

Death of Marat

Death of Marat

Tate Liverpool curated an excellent exhibition based around the premise that Art can set you free.  It was an opportunity to see the Death of Marat up close and personal, which was too good to miss.



To complement my experiences, I drew on a variety of sources to put together this document of the pieces that stood out for me.

Art Turning Left

Liverpool Biennial August 2014 Part One


To visit 10 exhibits linked to the Liverpool BiennialBiennial Map - Copy

Getting Started

Success for any trip is a good hotel. Stayed at Z Hotel on North John Street. Room was comfy, staffentrance were friendly and there was complimentary wine and cheese in the evening. It was rude to refuse!


First Stop: The Old Blind School  liverpool-biennial-2014-30    “Inevitably, rules get broken, and bits of behaviour are combined with bits of misbehaviour.”

There was one piece here that caught my eye: Marc Bauer. His work, Quarry 1907 took an entire wall. This is just the middle section.10561805_634686503305335_525816019795275061_n

The building itself was the main attraction: 10592869_634686703305315_155314640967698547_n


Two. The Blue Coat – James MacNeill Whistler10556347_634687196638599_7339739491995315068_n

“More than 100 years after his death, Whistler takes part in A Needle Walks into a Haystack because his attitude, motivations and commitment are as resonant now as they ever were. Whistler spoke for himself, and to continue his legacy we’ve summoned his thoughts and writings to guide you through the show.”

Three. Tate Liverpool – Claude Parentdsc9777-50cm

“Claude Parent (FR) is one of the most radical figures of French avant-garde architecture, and La colline de l’art (Art Hill) is the latest demonstration of the oblique function — a principle of architecture he developed in the 1960s with theorist Paul Virilio. Defying convention, the idea proposes that buildings incorporate ramps and slopes, avoid right angles and be wall-free where possible. Within such constructions, bodies behave in new and unusual ways that heighten the senses as well as reshape interpersonal dynamics and hierarchies.”

Two pieces stood out:

Voyages of the Moon 1934-7 by Paul Nash 1889-1946

Sleeping Venus 1944 by Paul Delvaux 1897-1994




Interior, Sunlight on the Floor 1906 by Vilhelm Hammershoi 1864-1916

Four. Tate Liverpool – Works from the collection

This was the standout piece for me:

The canvas is folded back on either side and there is a figure in black there that we can no longer see.



Five. Liverpool Cathedral – Michael Nyman Broadcast of Symphony No. 11: Hillsborough Memorial


A beautiful piece of music in an ideal setting.


Six: The evening’s entertainment was at FACT to see Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.  A brilliant film shot over twelve years with the same actors.  A fascinating exploration of what growing up really entails.

End of day one