Peter Blake: Venice
Poptabulous exhibition of screenprints inspired by La Dominante
This article is from 2009.
When Art went POP!, Peter Blake defined a very British view of how the 60s swung. Collaging trash iconography with pop star royalty, all involved were bestowed with mutually acquired cult credibility. Forty-odd years on from Sergeant Pepper, the Scottish premiere of The Venice Suite gives a very Blakeian view of the city that played host to the 2007 Biennale which inspired these 20 screenprints. Each miniature contains a still-life surrealist fantasia, which, in their reconstituted junk-shop whimsy, resemble classicist Victorian pop-up book dioramas as subverted by Terry Gilliam.
More familiar are images of The Beatles, Elvis Presley and other music legends that make up the Love series. Inspired by Andy Warhol, who himself makes a shock-haired appearance in an exclusive showing of a new Blake print, iconic photographs are sprinkled with diamond dust, adding a glitzily showbiz, 15-minute transcending immortal allure to an associated love-referencing song title. Brian Wilson, Blake’s former pupil Ian Dury, The Clash and others are given the pop idol equivalent of a star on Sunset Boulevard. Most poignantly of all, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, forever in monochrome, dazzles with an apposite gilt-edged sheen.
Finally, excerpts from Blake’s wonderful ‘An Alphabet’ spell out his name on sepia-tinged playroom wall-charts yearning for a magical wind-up music box soundtrack. Also on show is the recent South Bank Show profile on Blake, which makes one wish for a screening of ‘Masters of the Canvas’, which charted Blake’s fascination with masked wrestler Kendo Nagasaki as he painted his portrait. POPtabulous!
Edinburgh Printmakers, 557 2479, until Sat 29 Aug (not Sun/Mon), free.