Saul Steinberg

My mum tells me that Maggie Thatcher lives in Dulwich and there’s definitely the whiff of the conservative in how little the suburb’s altered in the last 150 years-or-so. My visit to the Picture Gallery was rushed, paying scant regard to the handful of great masters in the permanent collection and making instead for Illuminations, the retrospective of Romanian/American illustrator Saul Steinberg.

Illuminations should grab the attention of anyone with a passing interest in contemporary illustration. Moving, as it does, through the social and stylistic changes of the 20th century… though not necessarily in chronological order, esoteric themes seem to rise, recede or recur over decades. Photomontage; faux-naïf assemblage; dour Eastern Bloc surrealism; simple line drawings of hopelessly complex subjects, all eventually give way to a brand of post-modernity you’d expect from Raw Magazine or the Memphis Group.
It’s the quieter, more personal still life and interior studies that occasionally, affectingly cut through the clamour, though with its startling similarity to Audi’s excellent animated ad, it’s a pity this portrait in a box wasn’t also included. Here’s hoping this show inaugurates a new wave of timely and knowing exhibitions that ensure I’ll visit again… though next time I’ll check-out tea and cake in the café too.

1 comment:

laura. said...

i like it simple,i cant see some of your handprints,i was at your site earlier,
i always see tea cake