By HAYLEY GAULT
One can get lost throughout the course of the 232 piece Andy Warhol exhibition at the MAC. It extensively spans his career from the 60’s to the 80’s.
I was instructed to begin in the lofty Upper Gallery, which on entering revealed large, stark, black and white print canvases. This was not the Andy Warhol that I thought I knew. These sobering, mainly military images are products of his later years and are inspired by war, death and religion. My favourite from the collection, ’Dollar Sign’, was one of only two in the room that expressed that familiar pop of Warhol colour.
Moving into the Tall Gallery was like moving from death to life – from the sombre late tones to the bright early vibrancy of pop art, print and posters. These paintings adorn the walls in their multitude; Warhol’s most recognisable earlier genre of celebrity, the self and mass production. The artist’s mass appeal becomes evident, as you can’t help but spot a celebrity or a recognisable brand that has been given the ‘Warhol’ treatment.
Contrasted with these works are a number of unassuming yet nonetheless powerful photographs, including a cabinet of small self-portraits, which connect art to artist brilliantly. These portraits add a distinctly human touch amongst the artificial cultural foray. This human touch continued with Warhol’s ‘Silver Clouds.’ It is a playful sculptural installation of what appear to be silver helium-filled balloons; an interactive piece where the work floated not only above but amongst viewers.
Finally, after tearing myself away, I descended to the Sunken Gallery. In this darkened room there were videos of Warhol’s artistic process’s; his colleagues and the man himself. This was a welcome and fascinating insight, particularly in collusion with the rest of the exhibition.
There were very few signs to direct me to each gallery, but luckily the MAC is an amazing space to get a little lost in.
This exhibition is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Brought to us here by Artist Rooms; it is the first major display of Warhol’s work in Northern Ireland. Artists Rooms are a collective whose vision is that great art should be available and free, particularly to young people. These mission statements are an added reason to visit this wonderful exhibition. It is imperative that we as a population strive to support art and culture in Northern Ireland.
The exhibition runs from the 8th February until the 28th April. During that time there are also several unrelated by promising plays – and a whole host of acclaimed theatrical and musical Warhol inspired delights to watch out for too. Not to be missed.