Modesty Comics were invited to the opening of the exhibition ‘Lichtenstein: A Retrospective’ at the Tate Modern, London.
Our interest was, naturally, in his ‘War and Romance’ series based on comic books such as All-American Men of War and Girl’s Romances. The iconic pop paintings were his most successful works, including dramatic close-ups of female faces such asDrowning Girl, 1963, or Hopeless, 1963. The war paintings are dominated by violent action and scenes of discharging weapons and include his famous Whaam! painting.
‘I was interested in using highly charged material in a very removed, technical, almost engineering drawing style’ – Roy Lichtenstein
We appreciate Lichtenstein for bringing a phenomenon of mass culture, the comic book, to fine art. The Tate described it as making ‘low art into high art’. He takes a frame that is at the crux of the whole story and blows it up in his beautifully mesmerising pop-art style.
Most incredible was that ‘War and Romance’ was just one room out of thirteen! We were able to explore the earlier and later phases of his work where Lichtenstein either experimented with pop-art until he found his niche or developed his style further and transferred it to others. With everything from Chinese Landscapes to Nudes to his iconic mirrors, and many unexpected sculptures the exhibition was overall an enthralling experience.