- Upfront: Nicolas Deshayes at Tate St Ives, Cao Fei’s film at Tate Modern and Nigel Henderson’s photographs at Tate Britain amongst other stories
- Chloe Aridjis on Leonora Carrington
- Private View: Matthew Green on Christopher Nevinson
- Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden
- Cathy Wilkes
- Etc. Essay: Textiles and Art
- Alfredo Camisa’s Alfabeto Urbano
- Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention 1837-1901
- Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860
- Etc. Essay: Photograms
- Sonia Delaunay: The Colours of Abstraction
- Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process
- MicroTate: Kamini Sawhney, Morad Montazami and Caitlin Davies
- Behind The Curtain: Ben Nicholson
‘Discovery!’… ‘It really enriches my visits to Tate.’ These are just two of the many thousands of comments you wrote in the recent Tate Etc. survey. Firstly, thank you to all of you for taking the time to reply, and for telling us what you think about the magazine. Your feedback has not only been great to read, but also both enormously helpful and encouraging in thinking about how we improve and develop.
One discovery for many reading this issue will be the extraordinary work of the late Leonora Carrington (on the cover), the Lancashire-born artist whose surreal life and work is celebrated by her friend, writer Chloe Aridjis, to coincide with the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Similarly, curator Greg Sullivan’s article on Tate Britain’s exhibition Sculpture Victorious reveals how technological advances in industrial design and practices revolutionised how artists introduced new materials and pushed the boundaries of what a sculpture might be, often with truly spectacular (and sometimes kitsch) effect.
The Victorian period was characterised by its radical experimentation, which also included photography. And from its early flowering in the mid-19th century, the photogram – a photographic image made without using a camera – has remained a popular way of creating beautiful images and is seeing a revival among contemporary artists, as Jonathan Griffin explores.
We find images of a very different kind in the work of Marlene Dumas, who is widely regarded as one of the most exciting painters working today. Her subject matter is often the body – and her imagery is gleaned from many sources including pornography, newspapers and popular culture. In these pages she talks eloquently about how and why she makes these compelling pictures, many of which, once seen, will stay in your imagination for a long time to come. Enjoy the issue.
Artist Cao Fei introduces her film Whose Utopia set in a Chinese factory as it goes on display at Tate Modern
He was known as Lee to his friends, but Alexander McQueen to the fashion world and the rest of us. His friend and photographer Nick Waplington collaborated on a photo book which is now being turned into an exhibition at Tate Britain. How did the original book come about?
Marlene Dumas (b1953) has been called ‘the world’s most interesting figure painter’. Her beautifully painted works, which can be seen in museums worldwide, explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, while borrowing from popular culture, art history and current affairs. She draws from her extensive archive of images collected over the years, as well as photographs she has taken. ‘Second-hand images,’ she has said, ‘can generate first-hand emotions.’
Central to her practice has been the human figure – often naked or partially clothed – with subjects ranging from her daughter and celebrities such as Amy Winehouse and Phil Spector to the more notorious likes of Osama bin Laden. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, under apartheid, Dumas moved to the Netherlands in 1976, where she came to prominence in the mid-1980s. Tate Modern’s large-scale survey is the most significant exhibition of her work ever to be held in Europe, charting her career from early paintings through to new works on paper. To coincide with this, Tate Etc. brought together a fellow artist and a magazine editor to talk to her in her Amsterdam studio – about porn, politics and personalities
The author of a forthcoming alternative history of London finds echoes of writers past in a post-futurist landscape inspired by the 1920s Manhattan skyline
Alfredo Camisa (1927–2007) was a prominent figure in photography in Italy during the postwar years, though today his work is little known beyond his native country. His series Alfabeto Urbano is part of a recently acquired group of photographs from the late 1930s to the early 1960s, including works by Piergiorgio Branzi, Giuseppe Cavalli and Luigi Veronesi, which highlights some of the most innovative practices that emerged in Italy during this period
In photography’s first decade two pioneering practitioners, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, collaborated on making salted paper prints – a technique that produced photographs that were as much objects as images. Their work is included in Tate Britain’s Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840–1860, the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to salt prints
Former Turner Prize nominee Cathy Wilkes (b1966) has since the 1990s been making compelling installations and assemblages, often drawn from a carefully selected array of objects. What are they, and what do they mean?
An important figure in the Parisian avant-garde, Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) brought extraordinary inventiveness to a range of works, which celebrated the modern age in all its guises. Over a 60-year period she created groundbreaking paintings, textiles and clothes, as well as collaborating with poets, choreographers and manufacturers. This spring Tate Modern presents her first UK retrospective. The curator of the exhibition introduces her work
What do we imagine when we think of Victorian sculpture? Stern bronze busts of distinguished figures? Smooth marbles of lightly clad ladies? Yes, but there was much more besides. As Tate Britain’s exhibition Sculpture Victorious will show, artists took advantage of technological advances with astonishingly varied results
Have you ever wondered what happens in our conservation studio?
The photogram is an image made without a camera by placing an object directly on to the surface of a light-sensitive material and then exposing it to light. Since the dawn of photography it has been explored by practitioners such as Anna Atkins and Henry Fox Talbot, keen to expand the boundaries of representation. It was a technique much employed by early modernists such as László Moholy-Nagy and György Kepes (the latter’s photograms go on display at Tate Liverpool this spring) and is enjoying something of a revival as seen in the works of Liz Deschenes, Nathaniel Mellors, Walead Beshty and Raphael Hefti