A little while ago I met up with some old friends to go and see the Lichtenstein retrospective currently being exhibited at the Tate Modern. To be honest we’re usually more coffee and shopping when we all meet together so it was nice to do something different and as one of my lovely friends blagged the tickets for free, who could say no?
Lichtenstein was one of the key protagonists in the pop art movement shocking the art world in the early sixties with his bold mass culture imagery. This exhibition covers his key works and styles throughout his life time, clearly showing his intense interest and intellectual approach into exploring how painting functions within modern society. An example of this can be seen in the first room ‘brushstrokes’ where he recreated the great abstract expressionist techniques of large flowing brushstrokes by creating them in his own unique mechanical style. As you can see from the above painting he’s done the complete opposite to the natural free flow painting technique typically used by those he’s copying, instead he has painted in minuet detail every spot and mark.
Although much of Lichtenstein’s work is done with a sense of irony, there are some fascinating painting which show his own exploration into painting techniques. Personally I’ve never claimed to be much of painter, but as someone just generally interested in producing images I really liked his mirror series. It’s fascinating to see someone else so masterfully explore perspective and reflection. Along these lines I also enjoyed his Bull series showing the evolution/devolution (however you personally want to look at it) of painting throughout the twenty century.
The show is on at the Tate Modern until the 25th May and definitely worth going to see! I’d be surprised if you get the chance to see such a comprehensive exhibition of his work again anytime soon as so many of the works belong to private collectors.