In Homage at the Skarstedt Gallery
Located in the midst of Old Bond Street is the Skarstedt Gallery. Do not be misled by its understated entrance, what lies inside is in fact rather extraordinary.
The current exhibition title, In Homage, is largely self-explanatory. In simple terms, it is an exploration of artistic influence. This theme however, goes beyond a simply aesthetic and stylistic approach to influence; within its simplicity, the exhibition is fuelled with a significant essence of profundity. In Homage takes the familiar notion of predecessors and in turn culminates a space that is filled with what seems to be on first glance a series of renowned seminal artworks created by 20th century masters, including Sigmar Polke, Francis Bacon, George Condo, Martin Kippenberger and Richard Prince.
The exhibition is somewhat an impressive artistic parody; these paintings are references to earlier masterpieces by other great artists such as Vélazquez, Picasso, Baselitz, Ernst, Goya, Munch and de Chirico. Despite being stripped of their novelty, these works succeed in retaining a sense of authority that mirrors their origins.
Skarstedt Gallery is unique in its approach and known for its ability to generate a dialogue between the generations. This is manifested within the exhibition, which succeeds in demonstrating the profound relationships between artists and their heirs. This brings to the forefront the often disregarded yet significant concept of influence, while simultaneously displaying six paintings that are both impressive and compelling in their own right. The star of the show is perhaps Francis Bacon’s Study for a Pope III, which mirrors Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1650. Bacon’s Pope renders Velázquez’s subdued portrait with an air of nightmarish turmoil that is so prominent in many of his works.
For those unfamiliar with the masters, In Homage can prove to be rather perplexing. Equipped with the information pack and a simple explanation, the exhibition establishes informative ground. In Homage is both revealing in artistic emergence and altogether enlightening, so much so that one should consider it a must-see.
In Homage is at the Skarstedt Gallery until 8th August 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.