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Tate Modern: Wilfredo Lam

Wifredo Lam, Untitled (La Brousse), 1958, mixed media on paper pasted

Wifredo Lam, Untitled (La Brousse), 1958, mixed media on paper pasted

I spent a couple of days at the Tate Modern in December and January. It’s a regular on my go-to list and it’s brilliantly wheelchair accessible. Yes, I know I’ve said it before but it bears repetition because it’s a pleasure to have such great disabled parking and wheeling space.

Over this period, I saw the Rauschenberg exhibition, The Radical Eye photography exhibition – both very enjoyable/interesting and still on – and attended some talks but the exhibition I loved was Wilfredo Lam which has now ended.

It’s brilliant when exhibitions, by artists you know little of, turn out to be so surprisingly good – Mona Hatoum was another great example of this. I guess it’s because everything is unexpected and unseen hence fresh and exciting. With major artists, established works are familiar so you often find yourself comparing reality to pre-conception rather than just enjoying the art.

With Wilfredo Lam, the enjoyment is intensified because his early work is very clearly development time and derivative to the point that, about halfway through the exhibition, I was thinking, ‘Okay but nothing special or unique happening here’.

And then, it took off with some magnificent abstract/cubist work, incorporating Lam’s cultural history and with some stunning references to his contemporaries in America and Europe but in a style that was all his own. Magnificent, and I’m so glad I saw it.

The Wilfredo Lam exhibition guide is still available on the Tate’s website so do click across to read and see more, if you’re interested.

And, if you’re a Modern Art loving wheelchair user, Tate Modern has to be a must-go on your things-to-do-in-London list.

Access Note: on the talks nights, held at 6.30-8.30pm usually, I was unimpressed that my only exit option was the door furthest from the disabled parking. It was cold, wet and windy on the last night I went and so was I by the time I’d battled my way back to our car. Shouldn’t it be possible to exit, as well as enter, via Switch House? A small issue, I know, but I was very cold and very wet! Not my happy place.


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