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  • Sophie Harpley

Sonia Delaunay's Tate retrospective

I am over the moon to see the Tate put on such a big exhibition of Sonia Delaunay's work (2015). I was fascinated to see how her creative output morphed and developed throughout her life. The show begins with some early portraiture but it could have ended there really, these pieces are so lively and full of inventive, playful colour that the characters leap of the canvas. I adored the bravery of painting a face with bright reds, greens or purple and yet creating something totally real, expressive and recognisable. Delaunay experimented with quite simple graphic shapes and colour blocks throughout her working life but for me the most exciting phase is when she builds a fashion house.

Her bold, spontaneous nature really come across in the colourful, playful and bold patterns she made for fabrics - and in the fashion illustrations themselves. A delightful highlight was the knitted swimming costume. Yes the cloth may be 1930s but the diagonal colour blocking? Well I'd wear that today. I was actually less enamoured by the end of the show when Delaunay's work boils down to the repetitive creation of vivid colour wheels on canvas and too much red. I don't like too much red. But I know I'm missing the point.

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