Yeah, I know I said back there that I wouldn’t but, well, why not? “Waddington Custot presents Peter Blake: Time Traveller, an exhibition dedicated to the groundbreaking exploration of collage by iconic British artist Peter Blake.” – There it was, waiting for us in the middle of the born again thing that is Cork Street, did say you didn’t need any words from us and really you don’t, but it was exciting to see in the flesh, all that time travelling and Elvis and the strawberry jam and the rest of it. And the show has now been extended, you can catch it during the first nine days of September
– “We’re delighted to announce the extension of this critically acclaimed exhibition. Following the summer closure of the gallery from 14–30 August inclusive, Peter Blake: Time Traveller will reopen until 9 September”.
And it is such a good show, an exciting show, a must see and no, coverage from us really isn’t needed, words aren’t needed, not from us, not really, another visit is though. There’s a lot to see, to absorb, this is a big show in every way, an almost understated exhibition and it is very easy to take Peter Blake just a little bit for granted, to almost dismiss him now, not when you actually see it though, not when you actually get to see it all (and just around the corner from the Hockney show as well, it is 2021 isn’t it?)
This comprehensive survey show, which includes a number of important museum loans, investigates the fundamentals of Blake’s practice in collage over a career spanning seven decades, bringing together historic works and never-before-seen pieces. A new monograph, Peter Blake: Collage, which includes a foreword by Blake’s schoolfriend David Hockney, will be published by Thames & Hudson to coincide with the exhibition.
Actually this is great fun, I’d forgotten how all this excited the teenage me, this and Warhol and the possibilities of pop and can you really do that? And it does look like he had fun, Peter Blake on holiday with Joseph Cornell, that really looks like they both had fun with Lauren Bacall in Vienna. Do artists ever have time for holidays?
Peter Blake: Time Traveller charts the development of Blake’s approach to collage-making, beginning with his layering of subject matter in early painted compositions and experiments with collaged paper after encountering work by Kurt Schwitters in the 1950s. From here, the exhibition travels via Blake’s rise to prominence as the ‘Godfather of British Pop art’ to his current, self-proclaimed Late Period. From his found object constructions to his most recent digital print photo-collages, Blake has broadened the scope of what collage can comprise and what it can communicate. Peter Blake: Time Traveller includes works from Blake’s Alphabet and Museum of Black and White series, as well as pieces made in homage to fellow artists Sonia Delaunay, Kurt Schwitters and Robert Rauschenberg. Clowns, wrestlers and Icons are shown alongside work around souvenirs and holiday postcards. The artist’s largest canvas work to date, Late Period: Battle, is seen on view for the first time. The piece, measuring 183.4 x 293.5 cm, was started by Blake in 1964 only to be abandoned and left unfinished until the artist turned to collage to complete the work in 2018.
And the show really did save the day, it really was exciting to see, very nearly almost forgot it was there, need to go again, need to work up for it, a whole day is needed with the butterflies and Elvis and the thrill of it all, I’d forgot how much I liked this kind of thing (sw)
Waddington Custot is at 11 Cork Street, London W1S 3LT. The show opens again on August 31st and runs until September 9th
The photos aren’t great but I took them for me rather than you. Please do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show