‘Energizing’ is the word that sums up my experience of Sonia Delaunay’s work, currently being shown at Tate Modern. This response not only comes directly from her artworks, but also from studying her interesting journey through life; no matter what she encountered, she found a way to live her art in a diverse yet coherent display of innovation, experimentation and determination.
The one work I continually return to is the ‘Prose on the Trans-Siberian Railway…’ where she explored the Delaunay theory of simultaneous colour contrasts, ‘simultanism’, through text and image in a stunningly subtle yet striking manner to interpret the poet, Blaise Cendrars’ words. As a visual artist with a graphic design and print production background, I was particularly excited to see a refreshingly blatant disregard for design rules!
Sonia Delaunay has long occupied a core position in my personal list of most influential and inspiring creative people. However when I studied her work some years ago, I found her seldom mentioned in fine art circles, despite her acknowledged importance to modern art. I hope this exhibition will change that situation.
Image from Sonia Delaunay Exhibition Catalogue, 2014, Tate Publishing, London, p67.