Cy Twombly at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill

Twombly and gallerist Larry Gagosian have a long celebrated relationship having worked with one another since the 1980s up until the artist’s death in 2011 and now beyond with the Cy Twombly Foundation. Reverting to type, Gagosian has chosen Twombly to once again inaugurate one of his galleries — his third in London. In a busy time for the art world, this happens to be the second gallery opening in as many weeks by the architects Caruso St John, after their triumph with Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery south of the river. 

The space is immaculate, the floor a beautiful dark parquet and the surrounds make it feel more like White Cube’s Masons Yard than the more public facing persona of Hirst’s project. This is a gallery of commerce and what it lacks in the awe felt at the Britannia Street branch it will make up for in hard sales. You sense the air of business in these two spaces; this is Mayfair you’re reminded, not Kings Cross. 

Untitled, 1969 (exterior view)

Untitled, 1969 (exterior view)

You also sense the joy of play; the giant Bacchus pieces from Twombly’s 2005-06 period are doodles on an inhuman scale; swirls of red paint on yellow circled around and around like a drunken dance. Whether the title proceeded the work or came later matters not, the energy and exuberance in the two large works are reason enough to seek out the show. 

Bacchus, 2006-08

Bacchus, 2006-08

Perfectly lit and more insular in their execution the rest of the show is largely made up of works on paper. Pieces look like workings, things scribbled out and replaced; there are what seem like table plans and repositionings, decisions made and played out on paper. There is more energy here too, you sense the speed some of these choices were made with. 

There is no question of Twombly’s status and importance and this exhibition shows a more subtle side to the grand gestures, the preparatory works giving as much away as the wonderful vibrant acrylics.  

http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/cy-twombly--october-10-2015 until December 12th