Tag Archives: 植民地主義者

Gauguin: Maker of Myth @ Tate Modern

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A French Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin’s large scale exhibition “Gauguin“, exhibiting his works from around the world, runs at the Tate Modern from September 30 until January 16, 2011.

Gauguin left his job as a stockbroker and his family in his wife’s native Copenhagen, and became a full-time painter in Paris, after he began painting in his free time.  He is famous for his colorful and exotic images of women in Tahiti, to where he escaped from European civilization, but the exhibition also shows a variety of works such as paintings of Brittany where he frequently visited the artist colony of Pont-Aven, religious paintings, self-portraits, and wood carvings.

Gauguin is sometimes called as a colonialist, a sexist, or even a pedophilia because he painted naked or half-naked young Tahitian girls as his favorite motif. He was also condemned that he had sexual relationship with Tahitian girls knowing that he got infected syphilis while he was in paris. It is terrible that he took a risk to infect these innocent girls, but other criticisms are a bit too harsh on him, as there was no concept that “pedophilia is bad” nor human right of a colonial among colonizers at that time he lived through.

The exhibition opens with a fanfare as a blockbuster of this year, but I was a bit disappointed because the exhibition includes many unimpressive works such as mere quick drawings and wood carvings which are rather boring without his signature colors and Polynesian would probably do better that kind of wood carvings than him. As the Daily Telegraph’s art critique mentions the risk of hanging Gauguin’s works thematically instead of chronologically, that makes it difficult for anyone who are not particularly familiar with his works to follow his stylistic development (article), the exhibition was a bit confusing for me to connect his life stage and artistic history to his actual works in front of me.

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