Six degrees of separation: From Victor Pasmore to Donna Huanca

Published 15 November 2016

How do Pasmore’s mid-century stylistic transformations link to Huanca’s paint-smeared performers? Sam Phillips joins the dots, by taking in six winter shows.

    • Victor Pasmore seen with a suspended relief c.1963

      Victor Pasmore seen with a suspended relief c.1963

      Photograph by John Pasmore

      1. Victor Pasmore RA


      Victor Pasmore turned towards abstraction after the Second World War, his figurative landscapes and still-lifes superseded first by swirls of colour, then by rectilinear shapes influenced by Russian Constructivism. Nottingham’s Djanogly Gallery and Pallant House, Chichester, explore this radical shift in the British artist’s career.

      Djanogly Gallery, 26 November – 19 February 2017
      Pallant House, 11 March – 11 June 2017

    • 2. Zaha Hadid RA


      The geometry of Russian Constructivism also had a huge impact on Zaha Hadid RA. One of the late architect’s heroes was Kazimir Malevich; her buildings explored his ideas about “how space itself might be distorted to increase dynamism and complexity”, she explained in a 2014 article in RA Magazine. London’s Serpentine Galleries present Hadid’s paintings and drawings, whose bold, fractured forms recall the Russian’s angular aesthetic.

      8 December – 12 February 2017

      Zaha Hadid RA, Metropolis

      Zaha Hadid RA, Metropolis, 1988.

      © Zaha Hadid Architects.

    • Robert Adam, drawing for a clock bracket

      Robert Adam, drawing for a clock bracket, c.1761–63.

      Courtesy Sir John Soane’s Museum.

      3. Robert Adam


      The 18th-century architect Robert Adam also made many paintings and drawings, producing evocative landscapes in watercolour and adding coloured washes to his studies in pen. Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, which holds the most comprehensive collection of drawings from Adam’s office, displays highlights related to his prestigious work in the capital, which included interior decoration for Buckingham House (later Buckingham Palace).

      30 November – 11 March 2017

    • 4. Drawing in Red


      Drawing also takes centre stage at Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford, which displays a small but splendid show of works in red chalk, also known as sanguine. From the 15th century onwards, the medium was embraced by Europe’s most important artists, including Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci, who adopted sanguine in his Last Supper sketches for its suppleness, solubility and warm colour.

      until 16 January 2017

      Il Sodoma, Two Hands and a Bust of a Young Man

      Il Sodoma, Two Hands and a Bust of a Young Man, c.1525.

      Courtesy Christ Church Picture Gallery.

    • Yves Klein, Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 79)

      Yves Klein, Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 79), 1959.

      © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.

      5. Yves Klein


      From the possibilities of red to the power of blue, in an Yves Klein survey at Tate Liverpool. The French artist and agent provocateur famously invented his own colour, International Klein Blue, and, infamously, used naked female models as paintbrushes to produce his ‘Anthropometry’ series. The exhibition features major works by Klein rarely seen on these shores, such as his ‘Fire Paintings’, made with the assistance of Bunsen burners and flame-throwers.

      until 5 March 2017

    • 6. Donna Huanca


      “With regard to Klein, I don’t relate to a man wearing a tuxedo pointing a wand, directing the naked female body”, says the Chicago-born performance artist Donna Huanca. In her show at London’s Zabludowicz Collection, her models covered in paint, latex and cosmetics are in her words “symbols of power”.

      until 18 December 2017

      Donna Huanca, SCAR CYMBALS, performance at Zabludowicz Collection, 7 October 2016

      Donna Huanca, SCAR CYMBALS, performance at Zabludowicz Collection, 7 October 2016

      Photo by Thierry Bal


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