Yesterday I was at the Guggenheim Bilbao experiencing Richard Serra’s Exhibition The matter of Time. The forms are strong and imposing, allowing us to feel and experience space in a new way. What was unexpected, to me, is the way the forms are delicate and subtil, despite their rough appearance.
Serra discovered what is now known as his sculptural language, when, one day, he got annoyed with his own creations ( which at the time consisted mainly of abstract paintings) and threw them all away, burning them to ashes by a river. It was his way of setting himself free (free from pre-conceptions, judgments, expectations and many other conditions). From then on he began to ‘play’ with forms in space.
” I think if you want to make art, at some point you have to suspend judgment, and you have to involve yourself with play and not worry about the outcome.” Richard Serra
This picture at the exhibition today reminded me of a beautiful book I read a couple of years ago… ‘ In praise of shadows’ by Tanizaki, all about the delicacy of shadows, and the mysterious qualities of shadows and light through traditional japanese architecture.
” We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.” Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
One of the things I loved most about yesterday’s exhibition ( a collection of Almada Negreiros works) was the diversity of interests and means of expression that the artist possessed. He was both compelled to painting in oils, and drawing in many different materials. He loved photography as much as he did creating with his bare hands. He Searched for the soul, but also loved understanding and expressing social gatherings. He wrote and illustrated his own ideas. He loved geometry and the human body, colour and black and white. He recreated dreams and at same time was inspired was reality itself. It is indeed quite admirable and rare to see such a diverse quest in life last throughout their lifetime. We see this in some great artists…. like Picasso. Others it is the opposite: they develop one form of expression and keep it ( such as Van Gogh or Rothko). But I think this constant exploration in new forms is definitely a lesson for us all to learn…. to never stop exploring and searching. Ever.
Just came back from the opening of the Almada Negreiros exhibition at Gulbenkian. An amazing Portuguese artist, whose artworks are deeply influenced by the soul and by the beauty and simplicity of drawing. Will write more about him tomorrow. But for now, some pictures of the exhibition.