Matisse is not some holy relic, stop the divine reverence! @Tate

Henri Matisse The Cut Outs
Lydia Delectorskaya, Matisse at Hôtel Régina, Nice, 1952, Courtesy Henri Matisse Archives. All artwork by Henri Matisse (c) Succession H. Matisse / DACS 2014

As an artist who works primarily in collage I was so excited to go see The Cut-Outs at the Tate Modern in London.

I was anticipating the thrill of his colours, his mesmerising coral-like shapes and watching his dexterous skill, snipping and revealing beauty in simple shapes.

But you know what, all the kow-towing and hushed voices, all the oohhs-and-ahhs and worshipping of his work really gave me the shits big time. It absolutely ruined the experience for me. His work is such a celebration, there’s so much jubilation and spirit in his work, particularly his cut-outs, that I was incensed by this careful observation, this reverent worship, this treatment of his work like holy relics.

If I was sitting across the dinner table from Matisse, I imagine him devouring his food, wholeheartedly relishing the aromas and flavour. The mouse-like adoration of his works was in such contrast to the works themselves that I couldn’t stand being in the galleries. I wanted to shout and clap and dance. This work is amazing, it should be celebrated, not revered.

And so, to my canvas, to celebrate the wonders of paper and colour and joy of life.

Lydia Delectorskaya, Hôtel Régina, Nice, c. 1953. Courtesy Henri Matisse Archives
Lydia Delectorskaya, Hôtel Régina, Nice, c. 1953. Courtesy Henri Matisse Archives


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