Monday 4th October to Sunday 17th October 2021
The European ArtEast Foundation is happy to be able to present this exhibition of Franciszka Themerson at Cromwell Place in London. The exhibition includes 12 works, which were made during the 1960s, the period when the colours of Franciszka’s work were drifting between black and grey. Some were in three dimensions with plaster and mixed media, others, on canvas with oil paint, others still, on paper with gouache and ink.
Later, during the 1970s, there was also white on white, but the works here belong to an earlier period typical of her work of that time. During Franciszka’s life in London, 1942–88 her art became a journey from geometric abstraction to figuration, from bright colours to the gradual bleaching of her palette, from simple cohesion of identifiable forms to painterly textures, such as those on the walls here. What was constant was the informal and unorthodox mode of creating an image, sometimes with brushes, sticks and fingers, occasionally by pouring paint.
It is in these works, with complicated patterns composed of shapes and lines that are scratched and drawn, faces, hands, and bodies, appear and disappear. Sometimes, all we see is a space waiting for another incumbent. The figures, often crowded, twist, hide, and turn upside down.
This exhibition is rather special, it differs from all her other shows in that it deals with very particular works that demonstrate the artist’s exceptional techniques with the use of materials. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the publication of a monograph about her life, thought and work by Nick Wadley.
On looking at her art carefully and thinking about it, we soon see that Franciszka’s pictorial world is far from obvious. It could be both tragic and funny. We can’t be sure. She invites the viewer to interpret her works.