Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Thursday, 7 November 2013

1. 'Ah! This life is so everyday' - Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield, 1. 'Ah! This life is so everyday', 1973, screenprint on paper, 410 x 359 mm, Tate.

I've generally found Caulfield's works reproduce dreadfully, as the factor of scale is all.  A flat patch of colour covering a sizeable area in front of you is very different from a little block of it on a page.  As with Lichtenstein, by making it small, you're left with something not that different from the low-art source material the artist has fed off.  This, however, is a screenprint and not that big, so not so much is lost.  From a folio of works inspired by the poetry of Jules Laforge, there is a magnificent tension here.  Yes, what we see is so everyday - a curtain, birds, the sky - but in these everyday things is the glory of nature, life, and the infinite sky, stretching out into space in all its flat blue glory.  The 'Ah!' is one of wonder.

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