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Blog: Double Dora

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A little while ago the Artefacts In My Exhibition noted that there were two interesting shows going on at The Tate Modern in London's fashionable London area of London. The first of these was a retropsective of Dora Maar the photographer who became part of the surrealist movement and was an influence on Pablo Picasso, whilst the second was a similar one about the Hungarian artist Dóra Maurer. That's two seperate exhibitions, one on an artist called Dora Maar, the other on an entirely different artist called Dóra Maurer. We resolved to go and ...

HANG ON A MINUTE! Double Doras?!? Did nobody at Tate realise this was happening? Surely this is either a daft and confusing accident OR an excuse for HILARITY and much REMARKAGE by the gallery, but there was evidence of neither. The Tate appeared to have adopted an attitude of pretending it wasn't happening and that NOTICING it was a very silly thing which they would not take any notice of, despite the fact that when we went on Saturday we saw confused people at both exhibitions who'd gone to the wrong floor for the one they actually wanted to see!

Our first Dora was Dora Maar, and it was Quite Interesting. It started off with some pictures she'd taken as a commercial photographer, which were All Right, but then got properly good as she moved towards surrealism. All was well until we got to the room about her relationship with Picasso, which featured a couple of Picasso paintings - one a portrait of Dora herself, the other Weeping Woman. These were FLIPPING AMAZING and, sadly, put everything that had gone before into the shade. We both felt a bit guilty about this, going through an exhibition about a woman and getting impressed by a couple of pieces by some bloke she used to know, but they WERE dead good. Worse yet, during their relationship Picasso had advised her to concentrate on painting which, going by the contents of the last few rooms, was... maybe not the best advice.

As ever with these exhibitions it was VERY interesting quite apart from the actual ART what we saw, as we learnt about the people she knew, the work she did, and the techniques what she used. There was more of this in the second Dora exhibition, although I felt there was a bit TOO much of that sort of thing - Dóra Maurer was very interested in Art As Research Process, experimenting with different techniques to see what would happen, which I always think is All Well And Good but I'd rather see the one interesting thing the artist DOES with the RESULTS of these experimentations, rather than the experimentations themselves. Rather wonderfully, however, it all got much better right at the end when we got to some Quasi images (fives canvases with geometric lines painted, as noted by the aforesaid Bristles IN My Brush, as if they were under different light conditions) and especially some sort of 3D colour images painted onto differently shaped canvases. Things like this:

It was lovely, especially because usually it's The Earlier Stuff that is the best!

SO ended a DELIGHTFUL, if occasionally hard to discuss without saying "Which Dora is that?", day of THE ART, which had only one minor disadvantage in that, when we went on to meet The Hewitts for BEER directly afterwards I got BRANE FLAGGING from all the intellectual THORT and had to be excused! Such is the price one pays for being an ART LOVER!

posted 2/3/2020 by MJ Hibbett

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