Serpentine Gallery Kensington Gardens London 19 March 2006
Ellsworth Kelly’s recent work is featured at the Serpentine Gallery, in Hyde Park.
It is good to see my favourite Gallery space, free of the installation clutter that has transformed the gallery in recent shows; the gallery is now back to basic white walls as god intended, and thus serves Ellsworth Kelly’s abstract paintings perfectly, and satisfyingly.
However the show is somewhat insubstantial We invested in 40 minutes of pay and display, but after 10 minutes in the gallery we had absorbed everything that the show had to offer, which included a reading of the Galleries explanation of what we were about to see.
They wrote, in case it was not obvious from what we were about to see that, “Ellsworth Kelly is among the greatest living artists”
“OK”, we said, “but what else have you to say about the content of these particular paintings?”
“Ellsworth Kelly is among the greatest living artists, and he pioneered a vital abstract aesthetic”, said the gallery and not much else.
Each painting consisted of simple arrangements of plain rectangles or other simple shapes of primary colours or white, and each were named simply after the colours they featured
We examined each room and each painting in turn, and looked at each label of each painting, and noted the simple descriptive title. Blue Black Red, and so on.
Yes, these were abstract paintings all right.
We used up the remainder of our pay and display investment by photographing trees and shadows in Kensington Gardens, and Mrs Monk noticed a yellow tropical parrot high up in a plane tree. The bird attracted a large crowd of onlookers, all of whom were perhaps wondering if it had escaped from London Zoo.
Ellsworth Kelly, 10 Minutes, Parrot, 15 minutes. Shoestring Chronicle