Other Criteria in Hinde Street, London presents an incredible selection of exciting and unseen Tin plate motif's by Sir Peter Blake. Currently showing until the 30th of November 2014.
In the middle of 1967, fresh from having finished an album cover for the World’s most famous band, Peter Blake the John Moores prize winner, entered the premises of his favourite west London antiques and ephemera dealer; Dodo at 185 Westbourne Grove. This was the place where a few years earlier the young artist had managed to acquire a rare Edwardian tin sign that he had coveted since the 1950’s. On this particular summer’s day, the 35 year old Royal College of Art tutor was to receive an offer he could not refuse. Up and until this point Blake had eschewed all opportunities; offered to his fellow swinging London contemporaries to reproduce work on silk screens or as etchings. However Dodo had suggested they commission Blake to produce a limited edition lithograph on tin plate. How could he resist, the resulting work; ”Babe Rainbow’, released the following year would be produced in an edition of 10,000 copies, Blake’s first ever multiple and on tin.
Some forty three plus years later the now Sir Peter Blake (knighted in 2002 for his services to art) has returned to the beloved medium of tin. Using latest technology to create a heart-stopping portfolio of exceptionally limited original works the godfather of pop art presents us with ’Hardcore Pop’. Featuring the family of motifs for which Blake is world renown the viewer is blasted with bright emblems and emphatic statements of certainty and hope. In the super-size iconic Motif Suite we find a quadtych of portrait - like representations. Each one transferred; on Dutch presses, to a 56% recycled metal substrate, over-glazed and oven-fired, creating a wonderfully rich and warm enamel-like finish. The process is something he and Dodo could only have dreamed of in 1967. At Other Criteria we see the final release; “I LOVE ENGLAND” in an edition of just 30 signed 623mm x 813mm (super-size) works.
Accompanying this exquisite suite of motifs is a short series incorporating text that sprang from the interplay of ideas with Creatively Recycled Empire; the Portfolio’s commissioners and publisher. These pieces reference Blake’s love of football, Chelsea, love of the city where he lives, London and country of his birth, England. Again the super-size lends the work an impressively joyful and confident air that amplifies the individual statements. “I LOVE RECYCLING”; is perhaps ambiguous. Is it that Peter, like so many of us now, appreciates living in a finite world with finite resources, or is it that this is what best describes the thing he does? Is there more than just a hint of irony in the nature of the medium, incorporating as it does recycled soup tins and paint cans? However the viewer wishes to interpret this final statement in tin, one can’t avoid the overall effect ‘hard core pop’ has. It’s as if every source of Pop is condensed to its essence and become; “vibrant early 20th century artefacts in their own right”.
While showing work produced in 2010; after the artist entered his self styled ‘late period’, it’s still clear that Sir Peter is true to his personal motto to “always stay ahead of the avant garde”. In a world full of signs and symbols who else would dare to reproduce them on tin? Who else could? Who else should? Only the living Godfather of Pop; Sir Peter Blake C.B.E.