Tate Liverpool

A visit to Liverpool, firstly to buy a suit for a wedding, and secondly to visit the Tate Gallery and catch up with the ‘Life in Motion: Egon Schiele / Francesca Woodman’ exhibition before it finishes next week.

I was aware of the work of both artists but wasn’t sure why they were combined in the one exhibition. This became clear as we worked our way around the selection of prints, which were beautifully hung and lit. Amongst other things Schiele and Woodman were concerned with the nature of the body in art, in the male gaze, and with eroticism – though eroticism featured much more strongly in Schiele’s case. Sadly, they both died young – Woodman by her own hand at the age of 22, and Schiele by influenza at the age of 28.

I was really impressed by Schiele, whose work for the period seems so ahead of its time. I would like to know more about him. Woodman’s photographs were beautiful, and perhaps her suicide lent them a pathos that she didn’t intend. If one looks at Instagram there are any number of young women taking photographs of themselves in imaginary or fantasy situations, and they mostly just seem narcissistic. But Woodman avoids this trap by being original and serious.

If you live in the north-west then try and get along if you can – the Tate is a wonderful gallery and this is a fine exhibition. As we were leaving I caught sight through the old windows of sunlight over the Mersey and wished I had my camera with me. The iPhone did its best, but the highlights were completely blown. I also missed the gallery lights reflecting in the window – never mind!

Sunlight on the river Mersey