On a recent trip into London I had to visit Tate Modern, and have a wander around. I haven’t been there for a few years but wanted to go and see Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals, and the Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper Exhibition which opened on 16 June.
I’ve seen Rothko’s work before (although I don’t think it was the same room or works as the Seagram Murals that are currently at Tate Modern) and I wasn’t disappointed. I do hear a lot of comments along the lines of “cuh, patches of colour on a canvas isn’t ‘real art'” – but then I ask them, “what IS real art?” – and they don’t really know what to say. And it’s even more frustrating when a person making such a comment hasn’t even seen this ‘modern art’ in real life, has no interest in doing so and is just regurgitating a line of thought they’ve read in a magazine. I think it’s difficult to experience work like Rothko, or Pollock, by looking at a photo of it in a book. You need to try see it in real life, and be open minded when you do – and if you still don’t like it, then fine!
Rothko’s Seagram Murals are dark, and a bit eerie, and the murals are so huge (the largest must be around 12 feet wide) – you’re absorbed by them. Stare at one for a few moments, and they’re sort of mesmerising, and hypnotic. You notice the layers of paint and colour, the way light bounces off the different areas in different ways. They envelope and suffocate you and swallow you up – pretty impressive, to me.
After sitting for quite a while in this room I left and found the Louise Bourgeois Works on Paper Exhibition, which I found really delightful. So well curated, each piece of material an important piece of work on its own but as a collection really powerful and fascinating, and just perfect.
You can read more about the Louise Bourgeois Exhibition here, or even better, go and see it for yourself at Tate Modern, London until April 2015, for free.