I am not a big fan of Jackson Pollock and I've seen some of his works at museums across the world without changing my mind. As I always enjoyed the exhibitions at Deutsche Kunsthalle at Unter den Linden, I decided to give one more try and try to learn a bit more about the artist hoping that I will get closer from his philosophy too.
The exhibition is focused on presenting the largest canvas the artist ever painted, a Mural, a summer commission from the art collector Peggy Guggenheim for the hallway of New York city hall. In order to bring more information about the artistic trend Pollock belongs to, photography or paintings by, among others, Gjon Mili, Aaron Siskind, Barbara Morgan or Andy Warhol, David Reed or Lee Krasner.
Pollock studied early under the American regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. When it comes to mural work, he outlined the influence of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clement Orozco. Picasso was also a source of inspiration but he soon found his own way and focused more on the vitalist expressionism specific to most of his late and famous works.
A pleasant discovery of this exhibition was the work of Lee Krasner, Pollock's wife and inspiration. More than once, she suggested a title for his works that he finished under inspirational trance. Her paiting is an emotional explosilon of red on the canvas, the colours looking as going out of the space of the painting for entering the outer space.
The exhibition as such is very well organised, with many useful information, offering the chance to get to know not only Pollock and his work, but also the intellectual ambiance of his time.
Pollock mural is a chaotic conflict between colours and shapes, many of them repeating itself at least as a combination of the same colours. The aggressive strokes of black are well tempered by the salmon pink and the sweet yellows. The big traces of blue are like the rainbow after the storm. Practically, there is not a classical story or center as any part of the canvas has its own story and relevance for the painting. Such a vortex of contradictions may have offer a lot of discomfort to the workers of the New York City hall, I suppose. It may remind a lot about nowadays works of street art that most probably Pollock would have embraced it for its raw vitality and creativity.
The exhibition is running till the 10th of April. Mondays, the entrance is free.