“It is always a privilege to visit an artist in their studio.” says Tate Director Nick Serota, who recently visited Cy Twombly in Rome and in his studio in Gaeta on the coast, halfway between Naples and Rome. “It is a challenge to be confronted with unfamiliar and new work, and to gain an insight into the creative process. It’s one of the reasons I can’t give up curating.” Serota has been working with Nicholas Cullinan of the Courtauld Institute of Art on Tate Modern’s Cy Twombly exhibition, called “Cycles and Seasons.” Here are some excerpts from their conversation.
“I’m not too sensitive to colour, not really. I don’t use it with any nuance that I know of. The form of the thing is more interesting to me than colour. I take the colour as primary – like, if it’s the woods, it’s green; if it’s blood, it’s red; if it’s earth, it’s brown….I’m not a professional painter, since I don’t go to the studio and work nine to five like a lot of artists. When something hits me, or I see a painting, or when I see something in nature, it gives me a thing and I go for it. But I don’t care if I don’t go for three or four months. You know, when it comes it comes…. Graffiti is linear and it’s done with a pencil, and it’s like writing on walls. But [in my paintings] it’s more lyrical. In those beautiful early paintings like Academy, it’s graffiti but it’s something else, too. I don’t know how people react, but the feeling is more complicated, more elaborate. Graffiti is usually a protest – ink on walls – or has a reason for being naughty or aggressive. ” Read more.
“Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons,” organized by Nicholas Serota and Nicholas Cullinan. Tate Modern, London. June 19 through September 14.