PREVIEW: The EY Exhibition:Wifredo Lam, Tate Modern

In September, Tate Modern will be presenting a retrospective of the Cuban modernist painter Wifredo Lam, in the first museum exhibition of his work in London since 1952. 

Umbral (Seuil), Wifredo Lam, 1950. Photo: Georges Megeurditchian/Centre Pompidou. (c)Adagp, Paris. 

This new display of the artist’s work will include over 200 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints, all tracing his sixty year career from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.

The exhibition will aim to confirm Lam’s place at the centre of cosmopolitan modernism. His work set out new ways in which painting for a post-colonial world, which was met with consternation and praise during his lifetime.

As a Latin American artist of Chinese, Spanish and African heritage, Lam combined traditional practises, surrealist ideas and originality. The exhibition will begin with works produced during Lam’s early years as an artist in Spain following his training in Havana and Madrid.

It will also provide an opportunity to re-evaluate his major works within a cultural and political context after he returned to Cuba in 1941. After spending 18 years abroad, Lam was disappointed to find  corruption, racism and poverty in his homeland. It was during this time that he created works that combined animal, plant and human forms, using symbols borrowed from Cuban Occultism and Afro-Cuban beliefs.

The exhibition is curated by Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern and Catherine David, General Curator, Centre Pompidou / Musée national d’art moderne, Paris with Katy Wan, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

The EY Exhibition: Wifredo Lam will be on display at Tate Modern from the 14th September, running until the 8th January 2017. For more information and to book tickets visit:


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