I've had the most colourful time at Tate Liverpool over the past few weeks as we turned the Clore Studio into an immersive world of colourful compostions, where art and activity began to creep and grow across the blank walls, floors and columns of the studio space.
Our starting point was The Snail by Henri Matisse (1953), Tate Liverpool's current work 'to know by heart'. On loan from the Centre Pompidou, The Snail is on display until May 2nd and is a key example of Matisse's cut-outs. It's worth going to see just to enjoy the scale and colour of the work and it is a significant piece to see up close as it's unlikely it will tour to another venue in our lifetime, due to its fragile nature.
Made at a time when Matisse was too ill to paint, the cut-outs were a new and exciting development as he used his scissors to cut out shapes directly from coloured sheets painted by his assistants. Some works were more abstract than others and The Snail at first looks that way but then it becomes clear that Matisse has composed his 'dancing' coloured shapes to form a distilled impression of the spiral shell. I asked many young visitors to look for the snail shape and there was much discussion about which way the shell turned and where the head could be found.
Participants then chose their own paper colour palettes and were challenged to cut shapes straight out of the paper to make their own colour cut compositions. These began to grow along the studio walls as we created a collective colour display and also a floor-based composition piece. There was also the chance to create transient colour projections and weave a colourful trail of coloured lines across the space through yarn bombing - which went down well with lots of children! The music, lights, shadows and colour also had a positive impact on participants who talked about how 'relaxing' and 'immersive' the space was.
There were so many avenues for development - we could have worked on it for another couple of weeks at least. If anything it was a great way of creating interweaving snail trails from a great piece of art.