Contemporary art works to see in London

Published on : 21 May 20204 min reading time

Known throughout the world for its vibrant cultural life, London is undoubtedly the cultural capital of Europe. Art galleries, theatres, concert halls, there is no shortage of opportunities to appreciate art in all its forms during a trip to the English capital. Today it is its museums that Artsper offers you to discover, presenting 5 works of contemporary art to be seen in London.

Mark Rothko at the Tate Modern.

Rothko’s paintings exhibited in this room were originally commissioned for the Four Seasons Hotel in New York in 1950. The American painter created these dark canvases, much more than his previous works, to create an overwhelming and oppressive atmosphere. Indeed, he was inspired in particular by Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence. When Rothko realized that this project was not the most suitable for the convivial atmosphere of a restaurant, he withdrew from the Four Seasons project. A few years later, he decided to offer the series to the Tate. There, the paintings are exhibited in accordance with the artist’s vision, in a room with reduced luminosity, and cover almost the entire height of the walls. The visitor is thus drawn into this room, which is at once almost disturbing and conducive to meditation.

Barbara Hepworth at the Tate Britain.

Barbara Hepworth is perhaps the best known of the British sculptors. She is one of the leading figures of abstract sculpture in the first half of the 20th century. Pelagos (“sea” in Greek) is one of the works inspired by the wild landscapes of Cornwall. Indeed, after relocating to St Ives in 1939, she marked her work more and more with this exceptional environment. Today, the majority of her work is on display in her former residence, which has been converted into a museum. But if you can’t make it all the way to Cornwall, you can start discovering her at the Tate Britain!

Dorothea Lange at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Migrant mother is undoubtedly the best known cliché of the American photographer. Moreover, with this portrait of Florence Owen Thompson and her children, Dorothea Lange put a face to the reality of the Great Depression. The power of this portrait has left its mark on the whole world. Thanks to it, Dorothea Lange also became an icon of documentary photography, at a time when women were still rare in this profession. You can admire this work at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Marcel Duchamp at the Tate Modern.

Fontaine, by Marcel Duchamp, is perhaps the most controversial work of the 20th century. It is also the artist’s most famous ready-made. The work is actually an inverted porcelain urinal, bearing the inscription “R. Mutt” in black paint. When Duchamp presented this work at the first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists of New York in 1917, it was refused, which led him to leave the office. Like most of Duchamp’s works, the original has disappeared. However, one of the few reproductions created under Duchamp’s direction in the 1950s can be seen at the Tate Modern.

Tracey Emin at the Tate Britain.

Tracey Emin is part of the group of Young British Artists, noted for their use of “shock tactics” in the 1990s. She has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts since 2007. She uses all kinds of media for her work, from photography to embroidery, drawing, sculpture and painting. Most of her work has an intimate and confessional aspect to it, and Emin explores her personal experience in works that are sometimes provocative, sometimes touching and always thought-provoking. At the Tate Britain in London you can see I could feel you and other drawings from the series from which she came.

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