TATE BRITAIN EXHIBITION
FLY IN LEAGUE WITH THE NIGHT
24 November 2022 – 26 February 2023
I am really interested in the work of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a British artist and writer, best known for her large scale figurative oil paintings of fictitious people.
In this exhibition there are 80 works from 2003 to 2020.
She paints from found images and her own imagination. She paints from no particular time, evoking a universality, almost transcending time, and existing in an ever-lasting error.
She invites the viewer to make their own interpretation, raising important questions about identity and representation.
Writing is central to Yiadom-Boakye’s artistic practice, as she has explained: ‘I write about the things I can’t paint and paint the things I can’t write about.’1
I resonate with this comment, as I have said many times myself that if I could sing, I wouldn't need to paint...and so I understand what she means.
Because the two forms of creativity are seperate but intertwined , Lynette Yiadom-Boakye gives her paintings poetic titles, which are integral to each work, but not as an explanation or description.
She feels its important that her work is self-explanatory and also that its a sensory experience.
For Yiadom-Boakye music also plays an important part in her practice, and she describes how the music she listens to impacts her painting. She describes how her painting influences go hand in hand with her music influences.
This is also something I resonate with. It is very important to me that the tone and the mood of the music I listen to fits with what I am painting, and on some level I find it helps me to better convey my intentions through the paint.
At the centre of the exhibition is A Passion Like No Other , as seen in figure 1. I feel that in this work you can really see Yiadom-Boakye feeling for paint. The intensity of the gaze, with the figure being dead centre , otherwise expressionless, situated in a totally abstract space of green . The expression she conjures through paint is powerful, together with the intention of presenting narratives which are not very clear. She describes that her works don't make sense as portraits, that its all about the painting (process), and how she works it out in paint as she goes along. Describing painting as a language in itself. And stating that the paintings speak for themselves.2
Figure 1. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, A Passion Like No Other ,2012.
I particularly like her compositions, as seen in figure 2, her placement of figures, I feel it aids in the description of the intention, and the title No Need of Speech, is especially compelling in this work.
Figure 2. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, No Need of Speech, 2018.
In figure 3, I am really interested that you can clearly see the detail of Yiadom-Boakye's painting process. The looseness of her style, the unfinished, or unpainted edges throughout the work.
Figure 3. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Some Distance from Now, 2013.
Again, as seen in figure 4, a really good example of Yiadom-Boakye's feeling for paint. The looseness of her style, enforcing the sensory experience, making for a very contemporary work.
I aspire to evoking a sensory experience in my work, like that of Yiadom-Boakye's work. Her ability to convey figures without any real justification and just allowing the paint to be a language in itself.
Figure 4. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Curses, 2011.
1. Tate Britain, " Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Fly In League With The Night," accessed June 5, 2022, https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/lynette-yiadom-boakye.
2. Tate Britain, " Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Studio Visit, A Snapshot of the Artist in her Studio," Tateshots, 14 November, 2013, accessed June 5, 2022, https://youtu.be/lgnYmLu85Os .
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, A Passion Like No Other, 2012, oil on canvas, 84cm x 80cm, Tate Britain, London, accessed June 5, 2022, https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/lynette-yiadom-boakye.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, No Need of Speech, 2018, oil on canvas, 230cm x 247.49cm, Tate Britain, London, accessed June 5, 2022, https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/lynette-yiadom-boakye.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Some Distance from Now, 2013, oil on canvas, 140cm x 120cm, Private Collection, US Courtesy of Corvi- Mora, London & Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, accessed June 5, 2022, https://www.meer.com/en/15277-lynette-yiadom-boakye-verses-after-dusk.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Curses, 2011, 160cm x 202cm, Private Collection, US Courtesy of Corvi- Mora, London & Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, accessed June 5, 2022, https://www.meer.com/en/15277-lynette-yiadom-boakye-verses-after-dusk.