Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era – 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程

The definition of a couple is elastic in the Barbican’s ‘Modern Couples’ exhibition. Tracking the role of collaboration and creative influence, the show brings together more than 40 artistic partnerships active during the first half of the 20th century. Some ‘couples’ include more than two people; some are not romantic in nature; and some fluctuate in nature. With around 600 items including books, letters and snapshots on show, the exhibition offers an alternative history of the Modern period, told through the relationships between artists rather than as a series of heroic tales. This often involves recasting the muse as a collaborator, but it is also about making visible the cross-fertilization of ideas between pairs working within larger groups. The show surveys a range of media, from the photographic experiments of Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy, to Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf’s experiments in publishing with the Hogarth Press, or the interiors made by Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, who are described in a delightfully ambiguous turn of phrase as ‘friends or possibly lovers’.

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Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程

Dora Maar, Picasso en Minotaure, Mougins, 1937, photograph. Courtesy: Centre Pompidou, Paris, © ADAGP, Paris; photograph: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Moving through the exhibition’s network of small galleries, densely populated with works hung on dark painted walls, feels a little like entering private spaces the artists might at some point have occupied – if such spaces had also featured lengthy explanatory wall texts. The stories they tell are new and enlightened versions of hackneyed accounts of male genius and female bewitchment, and in many cases they provide a corrective to heteronormative and patriarchal cultural fantasies. The well-known romance between photographer Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, whose relationship lasted 1936–43, is retold to emphasize the artistic influence of Maar’s surrealist photography on Picasso’s painting. The playful, sexy photographs of the American collective PaJaMa, shot on the beaches of Fire Island and Provincetown, are shown here for the first time in the UK. Formed in 1937 and working together until 1950, PaJaMa took its name from its members Paul Cadmus, Jared French and Margaret French, whose polyamorous relationship was as imaginative as their work: first Paul and Jared were lovers, then Jared married Margaret and maintained a sexual relationship with both of them.

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Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程

Leonora Carrington, Bird Superior: Portrait of Max Ernst, c.1939. Courtesy: National Galleries of Scotland, © The Estate of Leonora Carrington

The exhibition includes a wealth of works made individually during the time of the artists’ relationships, shown alongside biographical accounts of their collaborations. This makes works that are attributed to more than one person stand out as exemplars of creative collaboration, for example, Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst’s co-authored painting La Rencontre (The Encounter, c.1939) in which the artists’ distinct styles seem to have been magically synthesized so as to transcend their individual aesthetics.

‘Modern Couples’ makes much of desire and romantic love as the driving forces in artists’ collaborations; more than one relationship is described as being the result of some ‘intoxication’. The section ‘Mad Love’ brings together dozens of books, drawings, photographs and poetry by Surrealists in a large vitrine, showing how the relationships of collaboration are also dependent on more complex communal networks. In the ‘Mad Love’ glass tank, art and theory breathe the same air, as Jacqueline Lamba and André Breton’s painted playing cards sit cheek by jowl with Dr Grace Pailthorpe’s essay ‘The Scientific Aspect of Surrealism’ (1938–39), which argued for surrealist art’s capacity to bring unconscious memories to the surface and heal people.

For more than three decades, from 1935 to her death in 1971, Pailthorpe collaborated with painter Reuben Mednikoff. Their relationship is explored in the fascinating exhibition ‘A Tale of Mother’s Bones’ at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, close to the pair’s residence during the latter part of their lives. The largest presentation of Pailthorpe and Mednikoff’s work in two decades, the exhibition is the result of two years of archival research by Dr Hope Wolf of the University of Sussex, who has curated the show with De La Warr head of exhibitions Rosie Cooper, and Martin Clark and Gina Buenfeld from Camden Arts Centre, where the show will be presented next spring.

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Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程

‘A Tale of Mother's Bones’, 2018, installation view, De La Warr Pavillion. Courtesy: De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea; photograph: © Rob Harris

If the Barbican does a fantastic job of introducing a great number of creative collaborations, this exhibition zooms in on one couple, bringing together the many paintings, analytical notes, photographs and archival material produced to offer a deeper insight into a creative and intellectual relationship in which the process of creating art went in parallel to that of creating new ideas. Pailthorpe brought her experience as a surgeon in the First World War, her training in psychoanalysis and her pioneering work with women in prisons; Mednikoff, 23 years her junior, brought his artistic training from St Martin’s School of Art.

Guided by Pailthorpe’s interest in psychoanalysis, their joint work focused on the experiences of birth and infancy, and the influence these had on an individual’s life and in society as a whole. Pailthorpe was convinced that art could provide a direct route to the unconscious, allowing the patient and the analyst to skip over long drawn-out Freudian processes. The duo’s art became a means to test Pailthorpe’s hypothesis that violence in society, along with what she called ‘the virus of hate’, resulted from unresolved issues in infancy.

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Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程

‘A Tale of Mother's Bones’, 2018, installation view, De La Warr Pavillion. Courtesy: De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea; photograph: © Rob Harris

Their collaboration also reveals an obsession with the mother figure, designated as ‘M’ in their notes – the initial was also Mednikoff’s nickname for Pailthorpe. Practicing a form of automatic painting and writing, the two would work without editing, and immediately analyse what they had made, writing notes on the backs of paintings. Their style was visceral and dreamlike, with imagery suggestive of foetuses and underwater plants, and with chimeric or cartoonish apparitions populating the picture plane. Pieces were often titled after the date they were made, and the artists were prolific: five of the works shown in a cluster at the De La Warr Pavilion were made in as many days. Sometimes their paintings would veer into an allegorical mode, responding to such things as the rise of fascism or the Second World War – as in Mednikoff’s colourful drawing September 6, 1941 (Tragic Story), in which a monster with a toothy horned head and a single blue nipple is bitten by a smaller four-legged beast.

‘A Tale of Mother’s Bones’ casts a welcome light on the separate developments of Pailthorpe and Mednikoff as well as their growth together. This is most clear in their ongoing exchange of knowledge and skills: Pailthorpe’s technical ability as a painter gets sharper as the years go by, while Mednikoff adopts the mantle of the professional analyst in studying her paintings. Throughout their 36-year-long collaboration they supported each other to grow and learn, an attitude that is evident from their very first moments together, and which this exhibition makes beautifully clear. In the analytical inscription on the back of Pailthorpe’s earliest painting in the show, May 23, 1935 (Pathway Through Fields), Mednikoff writes a touching and encouraging note that her ‘fear of the medium is slowly vanishing.’

‘Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde’ runs at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 27 January 2019.

‘A Tale of Mother’s Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism’ runs at De La Warr Pavilion, until 20 January 2019, and Camden Arts Centre, 12 April – 23 June 2019.

Main image: A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova descending from an airplane, 1926, photograph. Courtesy: Rodchenko and Stepanova Archives, Moscow

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Ellen Mara De Wachter is a writer based in London, UK. Her book Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration is published by Phaidon (2017).

Opinion /

Barbican Art Gallery
De la Warr Pavilion
Virginia Woolf
Leonard Woolf
Pablo Picasso
Dora Maar
PaJaMa
Max Ernst
Leonora Carrington
Grace Pailthorpe
Reuben Mednikoff


在巴比肯的“现代夫妇”展览中,情侣的定义是有弹性的。跟踪合作和创造性影响的作用,展览汇集了活跃在20世纪上半叶的40多个艺术伙伴关系。有些“夫妻”包括两个人以上,有些人在本质上不浪漫,有些人在自然界波动。展览上展出了大约600件展品,包括书籍、信件和快照,展品提供了现代时期的另类历史,通过艺术家之间的关系来讲述,而不是一系列英雄故事。这通常涉及将缪斯女神重塑为合作者,但它也涉及使在大型团队中工作的两个人之间的思想相互渗透变得可见。该节目调查了一系列媒体,从露西娅·莫霍利和拉兹洛·莫霍利-纳吉的摄影实验,到弗吉尼亚·伍尔夫和伦纳德·伍尔夫在霍格斯出版社出版方面的实验,或者是艾琳·格雷和让·巴多维奇的内部实验,这些实验都以令人愉悦的、模棱两可的方式被描述。短语的意思是“朋友或爱人”。8.dora-maar-picasso-en-minotaure-mougins-1937-paris-center-pompidou.jpg Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程-Dora Maar, Picasso en Minotaure, Mougins, 1937,照片。礼仪:巴黎蓬皮杜中心,ADAGP,巴黎;照片:蓬皮杜中心,MNAM-CCI,RMN-Grand Palais/Philippe Migeat Dist.移动通过展览的小画廊网络,这些画廊的人口密集,墙上挂满了深色油漆的作品,感觉有点像要进入。艺术家在某种程度上可能占据了私人空间——如果这样的空间还具有冗长的墙文说明的话。他们讲述的故事是老生常谈的男性天才和女性魅力的新的和开明的版本,在许多情况下,它们纠正了异己和父权文化幻想。摄影师多拉·马尔和巴勃罗·毕加索之间一直保持着1936-43年的恋情。为了强调马尔的超现实主义摄影对毕加索绘画的艺术影响,我们重述了这段著名的恋情。在美国火岛和省城的海滩上拍摄的美国集体帕贾玛(PaJaMa)的顽皮、性感的照片在英国首次展出。帕贾玛成立于1937年,一直工作到1950年,它的名字来源于其成员保罗·卡德摩斯、贾里德·弗朗西和玛格丽特·弗朗西,他们的多情关系就像他们的作品一样富有想象力:首先保罗和贾里德是情侣,然后贾里德和玛格丽特结婚,并维持着性关系。他们俩都是。LeOnR.JPG Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程 LeONORA卡林顿,鸟优越:马克斯·恩斯特肖像,1939年。礼仪:苏格兰国家美术馆_莱昂诺拉·卡林顿庄园。展览包括艺术家关系期间个人创作的大量作品,连同他们合作的传记一起展出。这使得不止一个人的作品作为创造性合作的范例而脱颖而出,例如,Leonora Carrington和Max Ernst合著的绘画La Rencontre(邂逅,1939年),其中艺术家的独特风格似乎被神奇地综合在一起。从而超越个体审美。“现代情侣”把欲望和浪漫的爱情作为艺术家们合作的动力;不止一种关系被描述为一些“陶醉”的结果。“疯狂的爱情”一节汇集了超现实主义者的大量书籍、绘画、照片和诗歌,展示了合作关系如何也依赖于更复杂的社区网络。在《疯狂的爱情》的玻璃罐里,艺术和理论呼吸着同样的空气,正如杰奎琳·兰巴和安德烈·布雷顿的绘画扑克牌与格雷斯·佩尔索普博士的论文《超现实主义的科学方面》(1938-39)并排而坐,这篇文章主张超现实主义艺术有能力带来非现实主义。有意识的记忆到表面并治愈人们。三多年来,从1935到1971去世,Pailthorpe与画家Reuben Mednikoff合作。在贝克希尔德拉瓦尔馆举办的“母亲骨骼的故事”展览中,他们俩的关系得到了探讨。这次展览是佩尔索普和梅德尼科夫20年来最大的作品展示,是苏塞克斯大学的霍普·沃尔夫博士两年档案研究的成果,他与罗西·库珀、马丁·克拉克和吉娜·布恩菲尔德弗洛共同主持了德拉沃尔的展览。卡姆登艺术中心,演出将在明年春天举行。dlwp-a-.of-mothers-bones-.-view-high-res-1.jpg Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程“A Tale of Mother's Bones”,2018,安装视图,De La Warr Pavillion。礼貌:海边的贝克斯希尔德拉瓦尔亭;照片:罗伯·哈里斯。如果巴比肯在介绍大量创造性合作方面做得非常好,那么这次展览就扩大了一对夫妇,汇集了许多绘画、分析笔记、照片和为深入了解创造力和智力的关系而制作的档案材料,其中创造艺术的过程与创造新观念的过程并行。佩瑟索普带来了她在第一次世界大战中作为一名外科医生的经历、她在精神分析方面的训练以及她在监狱里与妇女一起开拓性的工作;梅德尼科夫,23岁,从圣马丁艺术学院接受了艺术训练。在Pailthorpe对精神分析的兴趣的引导下,他们的共同工作集中在出生和婴儿期的经历上,以及这些经历对个人生活和整个社会的影响。Pailthorpe相信艺术可以提供一条通向无意识的直接途径,允许病人和分析师跳过冗长的弗洛伊德过程。两人的艺术成为检验Pailthorpe关于社会暴力以及她所说的“仇恨病毒”是婴儿期未解决的问题导致的假说的手段。dlwp-a-.of-mothers-bones-.-view-high-res-54.jpg Friends, Possibly Lovers: Two Shows Journey Through Artistic Collaboration in the Modern Era - 朋友,可能是情侣:现代艺术合作的两次旅程“A Tale of Mother's Bones”,2018,安装视图,De La Warr Pavillion。礼貌:德拉瓦尔亭,贝克希尔,海上;照片:罗伯·哈里斯。他们的合作也揭示了他们对母亲的痴迷,在他们的笔记中被指定为“M”——最初的名字也是梅德尼科夫对Pailthorpe的昵称。通过练习一种自动绘画和书写的形式,这两种方式无需编辑即可工作,并立即分析它们所做的,在画背上写笔记。他们的风格是内脏和梦幻般的,具有暗示胎儿和水下植物的意象,以及嵌合或卡通幻影填充画平面。作品往往在创作之日之后才取名,艺术家们也多产:在德拉瓦尔展馆一群展出的五件作品都是在数天内完成的。有时,他们的绘画会转向寓言模式,以回应法西斯主义或第二次世界大战的兴起——如梅德尼科夫的彩色绘画《1941年9月6日》(悲剧故事),其中一只长着牙齿、有角的头、只有一个蓝色乳头的怪物被蛀牙咬伤。四条腿的野兽。《母亲的骨骼的故事》对Pailthorpe和Mednikoff各自的发展以及它们的共同成长给予了欢迎的光芒。这在他们正在进行的知识和技能的交流中表现得最为明显:随着岁月的流逝,Pailthorpe作为画家的技术能力越来越强,而Mednikoff在研究她的画时则采用了专业分析家的外衣。在他们长达36年的合作中,他们相互支持,共同成长和学习,这种态度从他们在一起的第一刻就显而易见了,而这次展览也非常清晰地表明了这一点。梅德尼科夫在1935年5月23日《穿越田野的路》中,在佩瑟索普最早的一幅画背面的分析性铭文里,写下了感人和鼓舞人心的注释:她对媒体的恐惧正在慢慢消失。巴比肯美术馆,伦敦,直到2019年1月27日。《母亲的骨骼的故事:格雷斯·佩尔索普,鲁本·梅德尼科夫和精神疾病的诞生》在德拉瓦尔展馆播出,直到2019年1月20日,卡姆登艺术中心播出,2019年4月12日至6月23日。主要图像:A·罗德琴科和V. Stepanova从飞机上下来,1926,照片。礼貌:莫斯科Rodchenko和Stepanova档案馆,Ellen Mara De Wachter,Ellen Mara De Wachter,英国伦敦作家。她的书《合作艺术:艺术家的创造性合作》由Phaidon(2017)出版。意见/芭比肯美术馆·德拉瓦尔亭·弗吉尼亚·伍尔夫·伦纳德·伍尔夫·巴勃罗·毕加索·多拉·马尔·帕贾马·马克斯·安斯特·莱昂诺拉·卡灵顿葡萄画廊·鲁本·梅德尼科夫


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