Tate's Director Nicholas Serota makes the final adjustments to Cy Twombly's exhbition just before opening.
A long-standing fan, Serota talks about Twombly's technique, his relationship to Turner, and how the artist, now in his eighties, is still producing some of the most vital work of his career. One of the most highly regarded painters working today and a foremost figure among the generation of American artists that includes Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
Twombly rose to prominence through a distinctive style characterised by scribbles and vibrantly daubed paint. This is his first solo retrospective in fifteen years, and provides an overview of his work from the 1950s to now. Twombly emerged as a painter at the height of abstract expressionism, then in 1957 he left America for Italy, where he drew inspiration from European literature and classical culture.
At the heart of the exhibition was Twombly’s work exploring the cycles associated with seasons, nature and the passing of time. Several key groups were brought together for the first time, such as Tate’s Four Seasons 1993–4 with those from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition also explored how Twombly was influenced by antiquity, myth and the Mediterranean, for example the violent red swirls in the Bacchus 2005 paintings which bring to mind the drunken god of wine.