self-contained, site-specific cut-out

One morning in the summer of 1952, Matisse told his studio assistant and secretary Lydia Delectorskaya that “he wanted to see divers,” so they set out to a favorite pool in Cannes. Suffering under the “blazing sun,” they returned home, where Matisse declared, “I will make myself my own pool.” He asked Delectorskaya to ring the walls of his dining room at the Hôtel Régina in Nice with a band of white paper, positioned just above the level of his head, breaking only at the windows and door at opposite ends of the room. The room itself was lined with tan burlap, a popular wall covering of the time. Matisse then cut his own divers, swimmers, and sea creatures out of paper painted in an ultramarine blue. The blue forms were pinned on the white paper, which helped define the aquatic ballet of bodies, splashing water, and light.
The result was Matisse’s first and only self-contained, site-specific cut-out. With its reduction of forms, its dynamic deployment of positives and negatives, and its lateral expansion across the walls, The Swimming Pool was the culmination of Matisse’s work in cut paper up until that point. Matisse saw in paper’s pliability a perfect representation of the fluidity of water, making The Swimming Pool a perfect melding of subject and means.

(text copied from Jérôme Bel post on facebook)



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