Turner Contemporary

Exhibition review – Journey’s with ‘The Waste Land’

Journey’s with ‘The Waste Land’ is a major exhibition exploring the significance of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land through visual art.

The exhibition starts off at the main entrance of the building where it shows off 5 or 6 different life sized sculptures created by John Davies called ‘My Ghosts’. I found these very interesting as each of them clearly had a different character to them and obviously meant something different to the artist.

Moving on upstairs you are guided by an unnerving sound track of what sounded like a war going on from a far distance. The upstairs balcony showed more of John Davies sculptures called ‘My Ghosts’, these were similar to the first group of them but just as interesting as they featured more detail and showed more expression. Walking into the North gallery showed a bigger range of art including a piece by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian called ‘variations of the hexagon’ which I particularly liked as the shiny mirror mosaic really stood out to me as well as the blue glass + evil eye amulet. The North gallery also featured art by Cy Twombly, specifically it was the 4 large pieces named: Quattro Stagioni Primavera, Autunno, Estate and Inverno. These were very clearly the most eye catching pieces in the North gallery as they basically jumped in your face when you step into the room because of their size, this is probably why I liked them so much. Overall the North gallery was interesting but could have done with a bit more character.


Cy Twombly, Four Seasons


Moving into the South gallery, you start to get the eerie feeling of a post-war wasteland. You got this because around the room was a creepy sound track to set the scene of the exhibitions theme. Some of the artists featured in this gallery are Leonora Carrington and Berenice Abbot. The masks for a production of ‘The Tempest’ done by Leonora Carrington gave the room even more of an eerie feeling as they looked as if they followed you around the room. The style of the masks was something I liked too as they has a sort of tribal theme as well as the look of fire which could represent the carnage of a war (linking to the overall theme). Towards the end of this gallery it also shows two examples of modern day soldiers with a before, during and after pictures of their faces with stories about their time in war affected countries.

Leonora Carrington, Masks for production of The Tempest


Now, as you make your way into the third main gallery, you really get the whole war theme and when looking at the art in the room you also start to realise why it’s called a ‘wasteland’. This room held some of my favourite pieces of art throughout the whole gallery such as ‘Wires’ by Paul Nash which I really liked because of the true dark theme which definitely linked the wasteland of the aftermath of a war, with the dark tones, thin pointy strands of barbed wires wrapped around a wrecked tree and dark skies to represent the ash and smoke that would have been in the air in that time. Other pieces of art in the west gallery included the ‘Black Crab’ by Bernard Meadows which also had that dark sort of theme that really took my fancy, with the abnormal / abstract 3D design of the crab.


Paul Nash, Wire


In closing, my overall thoughts on Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ are that it is a very interesting exhibition that includes a huge range of fascinating art that certainly links to the theme and goes very well with it all, definitely worth a visit.


Posted by: Turner Contemporary on 9 February 2018
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