When I opened the door to the first room of Frank Auerbach’s exhibition at Tate Britain; I face this painting. Without knowing anything about the painter, I’m taking my notebook and pen out.
The texture is disgusting. It reminds me of wrinkled skin. An old person’s skin who’s going to die soon. The tones are dark, the ambiance is burdensome and oppressive. The artist seems to have spent quite some time in the paint, mixing it. He must have left his hands for weeks in the darkness; giving it all his soul , all his emotions.
I’ve been standing for a moment facing the piece. And I feel like I’m not looking at a traditional painting anymore, I’m immersed in a pool of emotions.
I’ve just glanced at the title. It’s a construction site on a London road.
I don’t care what it represents, It’s dark and gloomy. And at the end,I’m not sure if I dislike it, strangely I become attracted.
The paintings throughout the exhibition are evolving in terms of colors and content. Some of them contain a more positive vibe. Colors that differ from the blacks and browns. But they’re textured the same way which makes it all sadder.
I’m convinced it’s a disguise. The deep pain is lingering and is covered by vivid colors. Just like a fake smile, covering someone’s misery. As the years go by, the paintings seem more optimistic. Less oval shapes and more graphic.
“The longer you look at Auerbach’s painting, the more it lets you see”. While reading (after having seen the exhibition and writing this) a review on The Guardian, I found that this statement is the perfect way to sum up, if that can ever be done, Frank Auerbach’s art.