Lynette Yiadom-Boakye selects from the V-A-C collection at Whitechapel Gallery
In a series of four displays, Whitechapel Gallery has designed a programme that intends to reveal undiscovered, rare collections from around the world, hence opening its doors to this selection named Natures, Natural and Unnatural, from the Moscow-based V-A-C collection. Contemporary artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has chosen a selection of works from the collection this spring that have been inspired by nature: “The nature you walk out into in the wilderness, nature that you bring into the house, human nature, people interacting with nature and also the nature within a person.”
Made by natural materials, Piero Golia’s tapestry is most prominent. Tapestries are a somewhat old-fashioned practice but Golia’s Untitled Blanket (2007) is a beautifully modern piece made of woven cotton, with much depth, detail and three-dimensionality to it. This striking work of art portrays Yosemite National Park in California in appreciation of the flawless splendour of the natural landscape.
In a style of less intricacy, we are faced with Enrico David’s Rite of Spring (2012), a large canvas of acrylic and conté crayon. Repetition and a minimalistic palette seem to impress upon us the monotony of the unchanging reoccurrence of spring each year. In complete contrast, with an exploding colour palette, 30 Sunflowers (1996) by David Hockney is mounted on the wall opposite. Hockney’s still life utilises a vivid expression of colour, with golden sunflowers bursting out against the contrasting rich blue background. Pulsating with vitality, the depiction of the life cycle of sunflowers aims to mirror the human progression of life in celebration of all its stages. Alongside this idea, monochrome photographs from Nikolay Bakharev’s Relationship series are exhibited, which document relationships between different groups of people posed in a natural forestry setting.
The rest of the selection boasts a diversity of contemporary art from the past century. Features include the screen print Cow (1966) by Andy Warhol, two-tone painting Green Trees (1998) by Peter Doig, the Dancing With Dad (2003) video by Jaan Toomik, oil painting Bathers (1910) by Aristarkh Lentulov, and Garden Painting #2 (1996) by Gary Hume, created by enamel paint on aluminium. It’s interesting to see how the representation of each artist’s experience with nature comes across in each piece of work.
There’s quite a contrast in style within the collection, yet the collective message of the artists seems to reject the unnatural, while advocating human life and our relationship with wildlife.
Photos: Erol Birsen
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye selects from the V-A-C collection is at Whitechapel Gallery until 14th June 2015, for further information visit here.