Cy Twombly: The Rose – Gagosian Gallery, 8 May 2009

I’m so glad I managed to make it to this (free) exhibition!

This was my first time at the Gagosian Gallery and the space was perfect for Cy Twombly‘s recent work: The Rose.

This is what they have to say about it: Each painting comprises four wood panels on which three roses in full bloom are depicted in pulsating colours, ranging from deepest burgundy to tangerine, gold, violet and crimson, set against a background of vibrant turquoise. Inscribed on the last panel of each painting are fragments from Rilke’s poem cycle “The Roses.” [Source: Gagosian Gallery]

But that doesn’t really tell you the story… Luckily, there was only a handful of us in the gallery when I went. And I didn’t rush, even though it was dangerously near closing time .

I loved it. I felt happy and contented. You can drown yourself in each painting; the vibrant colours absorbing your every thought. The numbering of the paintings dictacted at first the order I viewed the work: from The Rose (I) to The Rose (V). But then I found myself checking details and going from one to another; looking at each painting closely and from a distance.

The burgundy colour on The Rose (V) really reminded me of some of the Rothko work I saw at Tate Modern recently. Of course, the natural order of the paintings from young and vibrant to decaying roses could be seen as an allegory of life… but why go there! Why not just see them simply as they are…


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