Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective @ Tate Modern

2月10日から始まった、テート・モダンの新しい展覧会「Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective」。アルメニア人のアーシル・ゴーキー(1904 – 1948)は、マーク・ロスコジャクソン・ポロックウィレム・デ・クーニング等と並ぶ、20世紀アメリカで最もパワフルな画家の一人で、抽象表現主義の形成に重要な役割を果たした。ゴーキーは、トルコによるアルメニア人虐殺を逃れて、1915年に母と3人姉妹と故郷を脱出。1920年に、徴兵を避けて先に移住していた父親を頼って、アメリカにやってきた。その2年前の1919年に、避難先のロシア領地で、母親を飢えのために亡くしている。本名はVostanik Manoog Adoyan(ヴォスダニック・マヌーク・アドヤン)だが、ロシア人作家のMaxim Gorkyマクシム・ゴーリキー)にちなんで「ゴーキー」と改名した。彼の初期の静物画作品には、ポール・セザンヌピカソ等の影響が垣間見えるが、1920年代後半から1930年代にかけてキュビズムに傾倒。そして1940年代にはシュルレアリスムに移行、抽象表現主義の先達として、ポロックやデ・クーニング、その他若手画家に大きな影響を与えた。しかし、私生活では癌との戦いや交通事故等災難が続き、1948年、自殺によってその人生を終えた。

The new exhibition of Tate Modern, “Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective” started on February 10. Armenian-born Arshile Gorky (c.1904 – 1948) was one of the most powerful American painters of the twentieth century, along with Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and was an influential figure in the formation of Abstract Expressionism. Gorky fleed his home town with his mother and his three sisters during Armenian Genocide by Turkey in 1915, and arrived to the US in 1920 to reunite with his father, who emigrated to America to avoid the draft earlier. In the meantime he lost his mother of starvation in 1919 in the Russian-controlled territory where he sought refuge. Gorky, born Vostanik Manoog Adoyan, adopted his new name with reference to the Russian writer Maxim Gorky. His early still-lives show the influence of Paul CézannePicasso and others, but he experimented with cubism in the late 1920s and early 1930s, eventually moving to surrealism in 1940s, which led him to precede the Abstract Expressionism for Pollock, de Kooning and other younger painters. However, his career was cut short by a series of personal misfortunes such as a fight against cancer and a traffic accident – his despair pushed him to commit suicide in 1948.

彼の画風は、試行錯誤の過程で、その時々で変わっていったけれど、その暖かみを感じさせる深い色合いと有機的で柔らかい線は一貫している。そして、苦労に満ちた人生経験故か、彼の作品は、どれも一抹の寂しさを感じさせる。故郷のアルメニアの思い出や望郷の念をテーマとした作品も多い。私が一番好きなのは、彼の代表作の一つである、8歳の頃に母親と撮った写真を元に描かれた「The Artist and His Mother」2作。少年の頃に亡くした母への想いが痛いほど伝わってくる、とても優しくて切ない絵だ。彼は長年にわたって、何度もこの絵に手直しを加えたと言う。1940年代に田舎に移り住み、やっと過去の苦しみから解き放たれ、自由な線や明るい色を使った生き生きした作品を作り出し、画家としての才能とキャリアが花開こうとしていた矢先に、数々の不幸に見舞われ、自らの命を絶ってしまった。彼がもう少し長生きしていたら、その後どんな絵を描いていただろう。

Although his style changed over the years, trying out different approaches, his warm and deep colors and soft flowing lines are consistent throughout. Also his works give me a feeling of little sadness, probably because of his difficult life. He also often dealt with his memory of his native Armenia in his early to mid works. My favorite work is two versions of The Artist and His Mother, based on a photo of him and his mother taken when he was 8 years old. The paintings show his deep affection for his late mother and his childhood memory, and it is really touching. He worked and reworked the painting over many years. He began to work in the countryside in early 1940s and his artworks started to look more liberated from his painful memories, using free and flowing lines and vibrant and cheerful colors. Sadly it didn’t last long – he ended his career and life, just about the time when he took off to flourish his career as a pioneer in Abstract Expressionism. I wonder, if he had lived longer, how his future works would have been.

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One response to “Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective @ Tate Modern

  1. I saw this yesterday. I found The Artist and His Mother very moving. Good exhibition all round.

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