Arranged by Allen Jones, this gallery is dominated by the work of Honorary Academicians. The largest piece, a thickly painted triptych by Anselm Kiefer, presents a dark forest. Real branches and tumbledown structures are placed directly in front of it, so that the whole work projects into space.
Its ominous mood is countered by Frank Stella’s two whirling wall-reliefs,which assert a linear vitality on either side. But a darker mood returns with Georg Baselitz’s large painting, a freely handled, upside-down image of Lenin.
Mimmo Paladino Hon RA, Les Metamorphoses du Jour 3. From a series of twelve woodcuts. Photo: John BodkinOn the opposite wall, Ed Ruscha’s image of snow-covered mountains is called, almost alarmingly, Blazing Orifices. Above it, Michael Craig-Martin’s mesmeric painting of the word ‘envy’ is envenomed by the form of an electric fan. And further along the same wall, a mixed-media work by Antoni Tàpies is enlivened, rather startlingly, by a real tap projecting from the picture’s surface.
Surprise is the order of the day here. Directly above Mimmo Paladino’s poetic, dream-like images, we encounter Sir Anthony Caro’s drawings. But they look as if Caro has drawn them from a posed model, and unlike so many of his abstract sculptures they remain faithful to carefully observed human figures.
Nearby, Frederick Gore has no time for a naturalistic approach. Now in his nineties, and still committed to a vigorous application of paint, Gore covers his canvas with the high-keyed, almost apocalyptic colours of a Sunburst. And a neighbouring painting by Allen Jones accentuates this explosive theme with a man and a woman colliding mid-air between breaking tables.