Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cy Twombly

Across the main building from The Menil Collection, the Cy Twombly Gallery also designed by Renzo Piano, houses more than thirty paintings and some sculptures from the artist. It is a permanent collection.

The space is well used and the paintings (some could be called murals due to their size) line up the walls without being cramped. Walking through the gallery, the viewer can take some distance and slowly comes closer to the works which are coming alive under the well controlled soft light.

What appeared to be a delicate, playful work of lines and "cheery" colours (bright pink, yellow, blue), becomes a tortured, hesitant work of words, half erased and rewritten, lines punctuated by long slashes of thick coats of paint partly covering another graffiti. The pink becomes dramatic, a colour of pain ("Analysis of the rose as a sentimental despair"). The strokes of the brush which appear light and gentle from afar, are heavy, brutal when getting close to the canvas.

Cy Twombly writes on one painting: "In his despair he drew the colours from his own heart."

This sums up my lasting impression after this visit.

The artist was recently commissioned to paint a whole ceiling for the "Salle des Bronzes" at Le Louvre. This heavy composition is a poor reflection of the Cy Twombly I just met in Houston.

photograph from artdaily.org

photographs were not allowed at The Menil Collection

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