Model Leah Rodi channels artist Dorthea Tanning, styled in graphic spring looks by Hannah Teare. Photographers Sandrine Dulermo and Michael Labica capture surreal woman moments for The Financial Times - How To Spend It Magazine February 2019./ Hair by Daniel Dyer; hair by Daniel Dyer
In the 1960s, when the American painter Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) got sick of the smell of turpentine, the artist began working with fabric. A transplant from Sedona, Arizona to Paris with her husband, artist Max Ernst, Tanning’s work “came up from a sort of rage, as if I were working blind,” she said in a filmed interview.
Midway through Behind the Door, Another Invisible Door — a new retrospective of more than 150 of Tanning’s works at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, organized in collaboration with the Tate Modern — the soft sculptures from this 1960s fury take the visitor by surprise. Tanning, who lived to be 101, is primarily known for her Surrealist paintings of the 1940s. While the sculptures seem like a radical departure, they are actually fluid adaptations of the lesser-known, loose-limbed paintings she began in the 1950s. Fleshy, primal, timeless, and odd, these fabric constructions present a head-on collision with the era’s Minimalist sculptors, such as Donald Judd and Tony Smith. They seem unprecedented: Louise Bourgeois wouldn’t start working with fabrics until decades later. The younger artist Annette Messager had just begun creating her early fiber work in Paris.
Tanning’s exhibition will travel to the Tate Modern, opening February 27 to June 9, 2019. The exhibition is curated by Alyce Mahon.