Monday, 18 January 2016

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern



Pop art is one of my favourite styles of art; with its bold colours, mixture of techniques, and elements of popular culture woven in, pieces created in this style not only provide visualisation of political protests and thought-provoking social commentary on the age of consumerism but, let's be honest here, they also looks very cool. However, it took The EY Exhibition: The World Goes the Pop at the Tate Modern for me to realise that mostly all pop art I've seen in my life was produced in the UK or US by the likes of Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton and Roy Lichtenstein. And that is a shame, as there are beautifully bold and fascinating pieces from all corners of the world that were created during this movement in the 1960s and 1970s, some of which I had the pleasure to see on display last week.

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern contains over 150 pieces of art by a range of different artists, all with their own unique style, making it impossible to talk about them all or generalise them into a single review. Of course I found some works more striking and memorable than others, but this was very much related to my own personal preference rather than the quality of the work or the message it conveyed. So instead of trying to cover everything I am going to keep it small and talk about a selection of my favourite pieces.

By far the most iconic display at this exhibition, and one that I instantly felt drawn to myself, was Ushio Shinohara's Doll Festival (1966), pictured below. The vivid blocks of colour blend traditional Japanese elements with Western ones in a seamless way that was absolutely striking and such a feast for the eyes. It was positioned at the very start of the exhibition and even after seeing over a hundred other displays after, it was the one that stayed with me the longest.


Ushio Shinohara, Doll Festival 1966. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (Yamamura Collection)© Ushio and Noriko Shinohara

Other pieces of art that stood out to me include: Tadanori Yokoo's Kiss Kiss Kiss (1964), a short animation film of comic book style kissing couples set to a Dean Martin soundtrack; Bernard Rancillac's At Last, A Silhouette Slimmed to the Waist (1966), a very cool piece juxtaposing two images so it can be hung each way around; Cornel Brudaşcu's Guitarist (1970), which was the most similar in style to the depictions of celebrities we've come to know from the likes of Warhol; Gerard Fromanger's Album The Red (1968), which shows 'bleeding' country flags; and Thomas Bayrle's delightful The Laughing Cow wallpaper, proving pop art can also be a consumable product.

From paintings and sculptures to multi-media displays, there was a seemingly endless variety of pieces and techniques on display, far expanding my knowledge on pop art away from screenprints of celebrities and soup cans. They were divided into different categories for a clear overview: Introduction, Grau Tilson, Pop Politics, Brudaşcu, Pop at Home, Pop Bodies, Želibská, Pop Crowd, Folk Pop, and Consuming Pop. I loved how the themed rooms were laid out; spacious and each with their own popping colour scheme befitting the works on display. Curving so that I couldn't always see what was coming up, it made the exhibition feel unexpected and exciting, adding a fun element of discovery to what was already an eye-opening experience.

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop will be at the Tate Modern until 24 January 2016, book tickets here

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