Anyone who makes, paints or creates in some way needs a space. Virginia Woolf was right, you need a ‘room of one’s own’, a place where you can make a mess, explore ideas and do your own thing. It’s really satisfying to see an exhibition which celebrates the importance of the space you work in. It expands the notion of a physical space into the realms of experimental space, space as performance, space to live in and entertain in.
I’ve loved the way the Bloomsbury set used their home as a vast canvas and this chimney piece, painted by Duncan Grant, gives you a great idea of the way Charleston Farmhouse was turned into a huge interior canvas for artwork.
Here’s Lucian Freud in his studio with that famous wall daubed with excess paint, the pile of rags and mess of paint tubes on his table. The photo was taken by Bruce Bernard in 1983 and shows Freud in his famously painty spattered shoes which feature in a nude self-portrait he painted.
I was taken by this mingling of photography and painting by Vivan Sundaram 2001, which presents a very witty compare and contrast of art forms.
This show has been very imaginatively assembled in a non-literal way, with enjoyable artworks, installations, sculptures and films. But they all convey the sense that the possession of a personal space has allowed and encouraged the creation of art. And that’s what we all need.
A Century of the Artist’s Studio is on show at The Whitechapel until 4 June 2022
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