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Details & Cataloguing

Made In Britain

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Londra

Allen Jones, R.A.
B.1937
MURAL FOR THE IVY
Quantità: 2
oil and pencil on board
144 by 274.5cm.; 56¾ by 108in. and 144 by 185.5cm.; 56¾ by 72¾in.
Executed circa 1990-1.
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Provenienza(e)

Commissioned for The Ivy Restaurant, 1990

Nota a catalogo

Allen Jones’ 1990 mural for The Ivy is a fascinating demonstration of the intersection of art, celebrity and fine dining. Throughout his career Jones has been intrigued by the celebrity culture and social scene which flourished in London in the latter part of the twentieth century, as both a participant and a diligent observer. He has continually explored and blurred the boundaries between fine art and popular culture as well as those between perceived reality and its representation. His identity as a ‘celebrity’ Pop Artist left him almost uniquely well-placed to produce work for The Ivy, renowned as a favourite haunt for those wishing to see and be seen. 

Originally built into the panelled wall, its curved form dominating the far end of the restaurant, the mural’s vivid colours and stylised human forms are instantly recognisable as Jones’ work. Whereas his painted figures often seem to erupt from the canvas in their bold three-dimensionality, here they are flat, tied down by their tonal integration with the background, allowing the vast panels to dominate the space without overpowering the viewer. The bold colours bleed into one another in places whilst sharply juxtaposed in others, giving the whole a dreamlike effect – a kind of tropical idyll in which perceptions of depth and space are lost, subjugated to the primacy of colour, recalling not only the work of Marc Chagall, but also that of Paul Gauguin. In this fantastical space the only anchors are provided by a patterned Turkish rug to the lower left and a tree in the centre of the composition, whose vibrant red tones almost match those of the background behind. The fine, fluid outlines of Jones’ figures are sinuous – meandering and suggestive in their description of form. They do little to interact with each other, and seem almost to float, reflecting the continuing influence of Nietzche’s ideas of overcoming the restrictive ‘Spirit of Gravity’. Jones makes full use of the width of the huge panel to incorporate several of his favourite motifs of this period: to the left a lone performer in a grass skirt, totally self-absorbed, in the centre a figure draped in the tree watching her, and to the right a dancing couple representative of the artist and his muse. Each figure or group is discreet, operating independently of the others, again giving the sense that they are representational rather than realistic depictions, types rather than individuals. Similarly spare figures and bold colours are seen in his Islands series of lithographs and paintings, inspired by a trip to the Caribbean in the late 1980’s, and this large-scale mural can perhaps be seen as the natural culmination of this series of work – a celebration of colour through dancing, joyful figures on a vast scale.

Made In Britain

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Londra