Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
Tate Modern: Exhibition
17 April – 7 September 2014

If you haven’t seen “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” at London’s Tate Modern yet, I encourage to you to so as soon as possible. I plan to visit at least once or twice more as I found it inspirational and surprising: as is so often the case when images are familiar from books and magazines, the scale and intensity of colour “in-the-flesh” was astonishing – Matisse’s cut-outs are BIG, much bigger and bolder and brilliant in colour than I had anticipated; and the fluidity and speed at which he wielded large shears to cut out the shapes with the confidence of a lifetime’s mastery of shape and colour was astounding.

Henri Matisse is widely regarded as one of the giants of modern art. In this landmark show at Tate Modern, the final chapter in Matisse’s career is explored: when he began “carving into colour” and his series of spectacular cut-outs was born.

The focus is on the period of his life when Matisse was in his late sixties: a time when ill health first prevented him from painting, when he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make drafts for a number of commissions. “In time, Matisse chose cut-outs over painting: he had invented a new medium.”

“This exhibition marks an historic moment, when treasures from around the world can be seen together. Tate’s The Snail 1953 is shown alongside its sister work Memory of Oceania 1953 and Large Composition with Masks 1953 at 10 metres long. A photograph of Matisse’s studio reveals that these works were initially conceived as a unified whole, and this is the first time they will have been together in over 50 years. Matisse’s famous series of Blue Nudes represent the artist’s renewed interest in the figure.”

This exhibition is a perfect example of why I love living in London, it is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to see so many of Matisse’s work in one place, to “discover Matisse’s final artistic triumph”:

“From snow flowers to dancers, circus scenes and a famous snail, Tate Modern’s unique exhibition brings together a dazzling array of 120 Matisse pieces from around the world. Bold, lively and often large scale, the cut-outs are a joyous celebration of colour and shape.

“A giant of modern art, this landmark show explores the final chapter in Matisse’s career as he began ‘carving into colour’ and his series of spectacular cut-outs was born.”

Unfortunately I can’t make it to a participating cinema on Tuesday 3 June 2014 at 19.15 to catch “Matisse Live from Tate Modern” but I’m sure it will be an extremely interesting show. I hope Tate will allow it to be shown on free-to-air TV or streamed via their website at a later date.

This promised “intimate, behind-the-scenes view of this blockbuster exhibition with presenter Francine Stock and Tate Director Nicholas Serota” will include a “breathtaking new performances by Royal Ballet principal dancer Zenaida Yanowsky, and jazz musician Courtney Pine” and a British actor whose voice I love, Simon Russell Beale, will bring “insight and emotion to the words of Henri Matisse himself” with the actor Rupert Young providing the film’s narration. All this will be “complemented by interviews with art experts, friends of the artist, and rare archive footage of Matisse at work.”

If you miss it in London, after September the exhibition will travel to New York at the Museum of Modern Art, after which the works return to galleries and private owners around the world.

(text in quotes is from the Tate Modern website)