• A Stella Line-Up

Barely three hours after posting about wan colours in recent screen adaptations of classic novels (Jane Eyre and Great Expectations), I feel the urgent corrective need to bring colour and dynamism back into this drear Saturday.  So I’ve found pictures from an off-the-wall exhibition that was held in the bizarrely named ‘Haunch of Venison’ gallery in London last autumn.  The gallery’s got great open spaces and a ‘photograph as you wish’ policy.

I’ve adored the work of Frank Stella (b.1936) since I saw an exhibition of his paintings and constructions in Amsterdam in 1988.  The workings of his 3-D designs are open to see, not unlike those of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.  They’re exuberant and fantastical.

La penna di hu (1987-2009) occupied a prime site at the far end of the third gallery, which was devoted to several versions and 3-D maquettes of a design that has evidently been central to Stella’s creativity for a long time.  Below are three photos that I took from different perspectives of the largest version of La penna di hu (with its references to the Soviet hammer and sickle and, in its open framework, to Tatlin’s tower), plus a shot of the smaller-scale models.

I hope you enjoy exploring it as much as I did.  There’s nothing to beat being up close and physical with a Stella (rather than Estella), so if you ever get a chance to see his work, do!


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