For the 2022 edition of Masterpiece London, and Opera Gallery’s sixth year of participation, we've establish a subtle dialogue between artists of different genres and backgrounds with a presentation that bridges contrasting approaches. Opera Gallery is proud to exhibit an exceptional selection of works on canvas, works on paper and sculptures by North American artists Alexander Calder, Alex Katz and Ed Ruscha, Colombian artist Fernando Botero, Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, European artists Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages, AR Penck, Manolo Valdés and Andy Denzler and British artist Anthony James.
The Hourloupe cycle began with drawings and paintings. After that I felt the need to associate reliefs on these paintings to give them more life and the result is painted and sculpted panels.
Just as Bodhidharma spent ten years facing a stone wall, I spent as much as a month facing a single pumpkin. I regretted even having to take time to sleep.
Feisty and iconic, I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins manifests Kusama Yayoi's paradigmatic pumpkin motif in an exceptional form that straddles two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional sculpture. Multi-sized striated black dots slither over the bulging electric yellow skin of the pumpkin, exhibiting extraordinary precision in skill and execution. Rendered in yellow and black, the most classic palette of Kusama’s corpus of pumpkin sculptures, the sculpture’s intense colour juxtaposition and dynamic patterns induce a rhythmic and enthralling optical sensation. Kusama’s pumpkins are one of the most loved and recognized images in contemporary art today; classic and universally adored, they are an embodiment of optimism, serenity and joy – an artistic and symbolic motif which the artist repeatedly returned to for “spiritual balance”, inspiration and motivation.
Set against a glowing beam of orange light, Ruscha’s Call Me Angel Chile captures the artist’s masterful ability to mine the American lexicon for inspiration. Harkening back to Ed Ruscha’s early text paintings of the 60’s and pastel works on paper from the 70’s, Call Me Angel Chile is exemplary of his most iconic compositions in which the depiction of language as image presents an irresistibly seductive visual experience. The artist’s white, stenciled command can be read as either a playful rhyme—a purely imagined, uneven couplet of sorts— or the phrase could attribute the artist’s historic preoccupation with music to this work. The phrase ‘call me angel child’ is a lyric in Buddy Holly’s 1958 tune Ting-a-Ling, and Angel Chile is also the title of a track on Jeanne Lee’s 1975 improvisational jazz album titled “Conspiracy.” Ed Ruscha spent his time in jazz clubs in the 1950’s and has referenced music as one of his inspirations, particularly with regard to the disruptive nature of words and phrases.
I like to make an image that is so simple you can’t avoid it, and so complicated you can’t figure it out.
Manolo Valdés captures Infanta Margarita by Velázquez, details them, diverts them, and multiplies them. He explains: “What amuses me the most is to repeat the same image while transforming it. A single creation is not enough to tell everything. As with photography, several shots are needed to tell a story”.
Alexander Calder developed a passion for gouaches and works on paper early in his career, appreciating the ease at which he could manipulate the surface and experiment on a smaller scale than his mobiles and sculptures.
Marc Chagall always strove to remain true to his canon of stories and yet to constantly renew his art. The areas of colour set in strong colours, with which he began to structure the works compositionally and in terms of content, certainly belong to such special innovations in the oeuvre. The mystical animal in yellow pays a visit to a house in Vitebsk, the artist’s hometown. It shines out of itself onto the surroundings and stands for the unshakeable power of inspiration. Mother and child travel with the animal, the sky in red is crowned by a pair of lovers. A very colourful and creative painting that literally becomes a feast for the senses.
An artist is attracted to certain types of forms without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; it is only later that you try to rationalise or even justify it.