News for Gauguin at the Tate Modern

­Gauguin is in London for the first time in over 50 years. The exhibition features over 100 works from both public and private collections. It brings together works made in Paris, Martinique, Brittany, Tahiti and the Marquesas. Objects crafted by Gauguin himself like woodcarvings, small ceramic pots, clay sculptures and coloured prints are also represented. The works are organized according to thematic sections rather than following a chronological sequence. There are two sections of documentary materials dated 1848 – 1891 and 1889 – 1908 illustrating Gauguin’s life and his times. Gauguin: Maker of Myth is the exhibition’s title. Simplicity of the drawing style has perfectly made-do without what Gauguin considered redundant analytical detail. The human figure, crucial to his paintings, at times loses its outlines and morphs to images of idols and timeless gods and goddesses. Devising a title for his paintings is also meaningful for Gauguin. Exemplary are the Tahitian titles for his paintings, which remain ambiguous to the art critics now and then, but are still vital to the comprehension of his works. A genius impossible to be seen and understood to the full because it’s a sensibility that goes beyond “our normal” one. And in this sense a timeless Gauguin, whom it would be a calamity to lose if any kind of universal lack of gravity dispersed our galaxy, as a very close friend of mine put it.

Iva Stork