Installation view of Frank Auerbach's Retrospective Exhibition, October 9, 2015 - March 13, 2016, Tate Britain, London.
Joe Tilson’s Venice studio in 2015 before his 2016 exhibition, The Stones of Venice, which borrowed its title from John Ruskin’s three-volume examination of Venetian art and architecture.
Tilson first visited Italy in 1949 and has since drawn endless artistic inspiration from the country, dividing his time between London, Tuscany and Venice. The works in the exhibition celebrated the interdependence of painting, architecture, design and the written word. Venetian church façades, as well as the bold geometric patterns of the city’s stone streets, are recurring motifs.
Works such as PC from Venice Campana di San Marco, Calle dei Fabbri, 2015 and PC from Venice San Sebastiano, 2014 are presented as postcards from Venice, embedded in giant-sized replicas of envelopes—an idea first employed by Tilson in his 1960s Pop works. Other works such as The Stones of Venice Santa Maria Della Visitazione, Venusia, 2014 and The Stones of Venice, San Trovaso, Venaga, 2014 feature hand-written inscriptions of now defunct forms of the city’s name as outlined in the Italian poet Andrea Zanzotto’s work Filò. The varied decorative patterns within the works draw affinities with Islamic art, unsurprising in the light of Venice’s trading history and historical connections.
In March 2017, the gallery presented R.B. Kitaj: The Exile at Home to inaugurate the new Marlborough Contemporary’s programming in New York. The exhibition, curated by Barry Schwabsky, highlighted works from all phases of Kitaj’s career, from the late 1950s to several pieces made in 2007, the year of the artist’s death. Together, the works in the exhibition reiterated Kitaj’s passionate engagement with literary and artistic traditions (Cézanne and Matisse, Kafka and Walter Benjamin, to name a few), as well as his own personal quest to interpret and mythologize his identity and destiny.