What Does Love Sound Like?
One of many questions that headlined each room at Lubaina Himid’s latest exhibition. These queries offered us thoughtful moments as we gazed on the intelligent and thought-provoking artwork at the Tate Modern.
The latest exhibition to open at the Tate shows a wide-spanning collection of Himid’s work over four decades, as well as showcasing six new paintings that represent women in a different light.
The British painter and sculptor has been credited with being one of the most powerful and political contemporary artists. Himid had a huge impact on the British Black art movement of the 1980s, won the Turner Prize back in 2017, and continues to play a dominant role in the world of modern art.
An early fascination with pattern has always been central to Himid’s work. “Patterns occur when I am talking to myself and trying to make visual [sic] the music, the sound, the noise and the poetry which underpins all my work,” said Himid.
This time around, patterns are abundant. The brightly coloured exhibition reflects the artist’s interests while challenging the rigidity of the structure we inhabit. Himid has created a colourful capsule that asks us to consider how we understand things.
As you enter the exhibition you are greeted by a boldly painted corridor and, if you listen carefully, Our Kisses are Petals, Our Tongues Caress the Bloom, the first of many sound installations offering you full ASMR. You’ll feel the hairs on the back of your neck before you’ve even entered.
Full of brightly coloured paintings, the first room is vibrant and inviting with its paintings and ceramics – one would almost forget there are underlying political messages.
Moving into the next room, called How Do You Distinguish Safety From Danger?, the atmosphere immediately feels darker. With shadowy hues, the series, Plan B, depicts the ambiguity between safety and danger. For example, Himid references the beach – a place that offers both pleasure and trauma for so many.
The show comes to an end with Himid’s most recent accomplishments; bold and colourful paintings showing extraordinary moments in everyday life rarely portrayed. This final room asks the question, What Happens Next? A question which generates inquisitiveness and, yet, fear.
We left the exhibition with many existential questions in the forefront of our mind, but it was definitely worth it. A superb collection of work from Lubaina Himid that handles anger artfully.
November 25 – July 3 2022