Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Leon Golub (Bite your tongue) at London's Serpentine Gallery

After a couple of Hours of Philosophy (there'll be more about the ongoing battle with Pragmatism I'm having in another post) I decided to reward myself by paying a visit to Serpentine - some time since I've visited and new exhibitions now on.

Serpentine like Kensington Gardens itself is generally a pleasure and to see and learn of Artists new to me feels worthwhile - it is also improved of late with respect to permitting (flash-less) photography.

To visit with preconceptions is (on balance) I think a good thing by the end of an hurried trip across what was a sample of about 50 years of his output I felt I knew a little of him and his influences - so I could then do a little research to find out more on his oeuvre ( which is some would say a slightly pretentious way of saying 'body of work').
The influence of Photo Journalism is clear


To me it seems that Golub carried with him a weight of war experiences and only in the later part of his career did his works  become pre-occupied with his own mortality (and as a result of his own physical limitations his work became far smaller).
An evocative image of interrogation

 I learn  that Leon Golub had a long (and happy?) marriage to rights activist and fellow artist Nancy Spero - they remained politically engaged through their time together.





For me the most satisfying works on display were those from the Mercenary series around 1980, the earlier neo-abstract works felt a little derivative and the later irregular-ised canvases a little mannered.
One of Golub's near trademark flourishes is the hacked canvas.

Somewhat pleased with myself (smug perhaps) that having thought I recognised something in the work looking back I see an image of Golub's captured at Tate Modern in December 2012 (another work representing   War).

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