19 May – 29 August 2021
‘I have spent my whole life in revolt against convention, trying to bring colour and light and a sense of the mysterious to daily existence. One must have a hunger for new colour, new shapes, and new possibilities of discovery.’
Whether dancing on the rooftops in Paris, sharing ideas with Pablo Picasso, or gathering starfish on the beaches of Cornwall, Eileen Agar transformed the everyday into the extraordinary. Her unique style nimbly spanned painting, collage, photography and sculpture, even ceremonial hats. Combining order and chaos, Agar’s work fuses vivid abstraction with imagery from classical art, the natural world, and sexual pleasure.
This definitive retrospective charts her ground-breaking career from the 1920s to the 1990s. From early works influenced by her teachings at The Slade, through her experiments with Cubism and her inclusion in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition, to her later compositions of lyrical abstraction, Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy features over 150 works. Pieces from important public and private collections as well as newly discovered archival material reveal Agar as one of the most dynamic, bold and prolific artists of her generation, which included friends Andre Breton, Gertrude Hermes, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, Paul Nash and Man Ray.
This series of events invites artists and thinkers to investigate contemporary fluidities and new imaginations of water, at a moment when our human relationship to it is arguably at its most strained.