Every room is ablaze with colour, for the work of Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) is characterised by the use of strong colour. She believed art could change society and colour was central to that idea. Everything in the exhibition, from the paintings to the textiles and mosaics, shout a language of colour that is very uniquely Sonia Delaunay.
Originally curated and exhibited in Paris last year by the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Tate Modern has now brought the show to London. It is the first retrospective of Sonia Delaunay’s work to be shown in the UK and through this brilliantly curated exhibition we see the breadth of her work and get a glimpse of her fascinating life.
For her life was as colourful as her art, a story ofadaption and survival, spanning periods of great change, wars and decadence. Born of humble origins to Jewish labours in Odessa, she was adopted by a wealthy Russian uncle at the age of five and raised in St. Petersburg among the multicultural elite. She studied art in Paris and Germany, lived in Portugal and Spain, returning to live permanently Paris in 1920. An artist, business woman and entrepreneur, she also played a major role as a pioneering abstractionist and was a dedicated ‘go-between’ for the pioneers of abstraction and the post-war generation. Over her lifetime she
worked across disciplines, blurred the lines between life and art and built a global brand. Sonia Delaunay brought painting and colour into every aspect of life through fashion, theatre, textiles, fabric design, mosaics, furniture, interior design, books, typography, drawing and painting.
This exhibition explores all periods of her career and as well as her vibrant paintings there are beautiful scrolls of changing fabric in an animated window display, clothes, film clips from fashion shows, images of her interior designs and magazine covers. It is a joy to be surrounded by Sonia’s work and it is not hard to see why she believed so profoundly in colour and the ability of painting to inspire change. Colour is the essence of Sonia Delaunay and her works are as inspirational today as they were during her lifetime. As she once said: I live my art and see no gap between my paintings and my so-called decorative work” and this exhibition is a living testimony to this.
The Sonia Delaunay Retrospective exhibition can be seen at the Tate Modern in London until the 9th August 2015. For more information and tickets visit: tate.org.uk