Tate ModernThe EY EXhibition: Sonia Delaunay.
The exhibition offers a radical reassessment of Delaunay’s importance as an artist, showcasing her originality and creativity across the twentieth century.
Tate Modern is celebrating Sonia Delaunay’s dedication to colour and abstraction with its newest EY Exhibition until the 9th August. The modern art museum presents the first UK retrospective to display the extent of her vibrant artistic career, from her early figurative painting in the 1900s to her energetic abstract work in the 1960s.
Sonia Delaunay was a Russian-born French artist who arrived in Paris in 1906 to join the avant-garde. There, she met and married artist Robert Delaunay, with whom she developed ‘Simultaneism’ – abstract compositions of dynamic contrasting colours and shapes. She quickly became a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde, and her vivid artwork swiftly spread across the realms of paint, fashion and design. Her work expressed the energy of modern urban life, celebrating the birth of electric street lighting and the excitement of contemporary ballets and ballrooms.
The exhibition showcases the artists’ devotion to colour and her ability to bring ideas off the canvas and into the material world through tapestry, textiles, mosaic and fashion. In 1913 Sonia Delaunay premiered her first ‘simultaneous dress’ of bright patchwork colours, and by 1918 she had opened a boutique in Madrid. Her Atelier Simultané in Paris fashioned revolutionary and radical designs for scarves, umbrellas, hats, shoes and swimming costumes throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and soon had a long list of famous clientele including Hollywood star Gloria Swanson and architect Erno Goldfinger.
The collection explores the diverse inspirations behind her highly personal approach to colour, influenced by her childhood in Russia and the impact of her years in Spain and Portugal. The show also reveals the inspiration provided by modern technology throughout Delaunay’s career, from the Trans-Siberian Railway to the aeroplane, and from the Eiffel Tower to the electric light bulb.
The EY Exhibition features of some of her most iconic work, such as Bal Bullier 1913 and Electric Prisms 1914. It also includes her vast seven-metre murals Motor, Dashboard and Propeller, created for the 1937 International Exposition in Paris and never before shown in the UK.
A must-see in London, the exhibition unmasks the depth of Delaunay’s designs, binding them to their creator’s essence: a progressive woman who has become a champion for a new generation of artists and an inspiring figure for creative practitioners to this day.