Colin Self

Power and Beauty No. 6


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Colin Self born 1941
Screenprint on paper
Image: 707 × 985 mm
Purchased 1983

Catalogue entry

P07745 [from] Power and Beauty No.6 1968 [P07744-P07746; P77696-P77702; incomplete]

Screenprint 27 7/8 × 38 3/4 (707 × 985), printed by Lynn Haywood at Editions Alecto and published by them
Inscribed ‘Colin Self’ b.l. and ‘Power & Beauty No.6’ and ‘68/75’
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1983

There were six editioned ‘Power and Beauty’ prints, P07744 being a colour variant of the editioned version of the image of a peacock (P07745). The method for the peacock was ‘to screen a sheet of paper black. Screen white through the screen with most holes in. [Then] The blue one of the tri-chromatic separation. Then print the three screens (colours) (blue-red-yellow) onto this. This gave it the “darkness”, the “edge” ... mystic. Heavy. Sheen. But depth. Took a long time. On the way I really liked the ghostly white on black one’ - Self therefore had two copies printed in this form.

The car image, of the first ever customised car by Joe Baillon, 1948, came from a 1964 magazine and the whale from an animal magazine belonging to Margaret's grandmother. In his notes on the Alecto Gallery exhibition of prints and drawings, October–November 1968, Self wrote:

The Power and Beauty prints are about images that have influenced my themes, drawings or sculpture, and about images which have haunted me...

The photo images I have presented in Power and Beauty have seemed complete, impregnable. All I have wanted to do with them so far is to foster them (a valid act) and to try to recreate those images and what they have made me feel. By using a standard size for all the prints (and other devices) the subjects are transformed, can be seen for appearance, aggressive or passive looks. This upsets the objects real physical size to a certain extent so that e.g. the cockerel looks deadlier and more massive than the charging elephant and Joe Baillon's classic customised car becomes elephantine, sinister and oppressive, more menacing than nuclear warheads.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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