Lucas Cranach the Elder Cupid complaining to Venus 1526–7
Cranach the Elder is one of my favourite painters. Here, a sensuous attenuated northern European Venus ignores Cupid. Stolen honeycomb means that angry bees are after him; the pleasure and pain of love. Bedecked in feathers and jewels Venus looks right at you. She flirts with the viewer instead. Her strange anatomy and an otherworldly landscape are exquisitely painted. Beware women’s wiles. Weibermacht! Cupid complaining to Venus
Eileen Agar Angel of Anarchy 1936-40
“Life’s meaning is lost without the spirit of play.” Agar synthesised elements of Cubism and Surrealism into irreverent disturbing objects. Angel of Anarchy is odd and beautiful. The plaster head (cast from her husband’s head) is bound, blindfolded and swathed. Sometimes Surrealism is a rather clumsy and obvious. Agar’s Angel of Anarchy isn’t. It is sinister and disruptive. I think she’d have enjoyed a glass of wine with Vivienne Westwood.
Robert Artschwager Table and Chair, 1963/4
Table and Chair undermines the way we understand space. This piece deliberately blurs real and represented. It is not a chair and a table. It is faking it. Of course you know this when you look at it, but still for a moment it fools you. I really enjoy the stark melamine and those institutional colours. Sculpture and painting meet here.