Myself, Arthur and Alice went to look at Henri Matisse’s exhibition at the Tate gallery in London. The exhibition was entitled ‘Cut outs’ and displayed the artists arrangements with different coloured paper shapes cut out with scissors.

The work was of course very abstract and could be described as simplistic in nature after all the act of cutting out irregular shapes from coloured paper is a task many of us practiced in our early school days. Arranging the shapes into attractive patterns Matisse attempts to convey a deeper meaning to the assembled shapes but we all agreed some worked better than others. It was not until we got to his later work that we all felt the buzz of something worth viewing.

The Blue Nudes took this technique a step further as not only were the cut outs defining the shape of a body but the way the shapes were cut gave the impression of the arms and legs of the model in an almost three dimensional appearance, the arm behind the head, the leg crossed over at the knee. Matisse effectively deconstructed the models pose into a series of complicated shapes, still simplistic but this time much more appealing.

The last panel was also well received. For this piece Matisse’s art had been transformed into a stained glass window. In this respect the addition of back lighting added for me the missing dimension to his work. If many more of the cut outs had been displayed in this way the show would have been instantly more fun to look at offering a riot of colours and textures to the viewer.

Sadly the only notes on display written by Matisse explaining his thoughts and feelings were all in French with no written translation on offer.

For various reasons we all felt the exhibition was a little disappointing. The work for the best part was uninspiring, the lighting was poor and the art was badly spaced. The ticket with student discount was £14.50, expensive for what was on offer and the explanation panels that were in English offered some guidance and background but were like the art simplistic and contextually lacking. The only real insight into the artists technique was, as already mentioned, written in French.

It would be an interesting comparison to make as to whether Matisse or the shop had the bigger space, the advantage of the latter of course was that it was free to get into, but I believe more of Matisse’s work was on display there than in the exhibition.




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