Following last week’s discussion of the major Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate and the comics creator’s own response to his ‘borrowing’ from the genre (without permission, credit or payment) with Image Duplicat...
Following last week’s discussion of the major Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate and the comics creator’s own response to his ‘borrowing’ from the genre (without permission, credit or payment) with Image Duplicator (see here), James visited the exhibition at Orbital Comics in London, and it seems that it may have a life of it’s own.
The feeling of joy and pleasure that washed over me, experiencing the impact of the full size of ‘Whaat?’ by Dave Gibbons after Ira Novick, was like the missile explosion in the image -I was blown away.
I had not expected Gibbons to recreate it to the same scale as Lichtenstein, the image in two huge panels, the red background only highlighting the strength of this amazing colours. I was transfixed, and already like everything to do with this project steered by Rian Hughes, all expectations were exceeded.
Inside, the exhibit space had been really carefully hung. I understood that there was a late addition, and what an addition it was.
Gary Leech created ‘Plop Art’, a huge Popeye piece. One could see this was freshly painted, the texture of the paint visible as the huge image filled a wall from ceiling to floor. He allowed some space at the top, where I understand Leech himself installed a toilet roll holder, dispensing a statement in a matter of visual seconds that words would fail to achieve.
Mark Blamire’s piece, utilising the original panel layout of a war comic was very clever. In a delightful way Blam’s art was stealing from Lichtenstein, focusing on the dots doing each panel in a predominant colour, which I found neat.
The accompanying comic also in a frame is exactly why this is an exhibit which captures my thoughts. Comic art has never been precious, many covers and designs have been utilised by others, but not in a way that ignored and discarded the original art with disdain.
Vicky Stonebridge’s piece, after Tony Abruzzo, was really nice, the blues somehow setting her image apart. The painting sent a clear message both in words and images; type from pulp SF was included in the art, as well as hand drawn script, all adding a delicious texture to the art.
Before Lichtenstein by Strictly Kev after Tony Abruzzo is a superb riff on Before Watchmen, in the style of a comic book cover was also striking.
There was so much here, every wall was full, but not to the detriment of the viewer. It was just right and anyone would be content with that.
Rian Hughes had produced a catalogue, and there were really nice promotional cards with the Gibbons after Novick image and also badges for sale.
As if this were not enough, there will be an Image Duplicator debate on Thursday 23rd of May at 7.30 at Orbital Comics. Artists and curators will discuss the issues raised by Lichtenstein and ask ‘Is ‘reappropriation’ in art justifiable and if so where does one drawn the line?’.
Chris Thompson will be chairing the debate, with Rian Hughes (exhibition co-curator), Daniel Brant (gallerist,curator, A&D Gallery ), Paul Gravett (author,comics expert, Four Colour Saint) and Jason Atomic (exhibition co-curator) slated as the key speakers. There is also an invitation to contributors who may come along to voice their thoughts.
And finally, I understand that efforts are underway to see the exhibit transfer to another gallery.
The exhibit is on until the 31st of May and I would say regardless of your view on the Lichtenstein question, there is some superb artwork of the highest calibre on display here, and it’s well worth getting to.