Serge Poliakoff: Silent Paintings

Serge Poliakoff, Composition, 1950, 51 3/8 x 38 1/4 inches, oil on plywood  (cou
Serge Poliakoff, Composition, 1950, 51 3/8 x 38 1/4 inches, oil on plywood (courtesy of Timothy Taylor Gallery, London)

Harry Thorne reviews Serge Poliakoff: Silent Paintings at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, on view through February 21, 2015.

Thorne writes that the "works [exhibited] pose a strong defence to any claims that Poliakoff’s abstraction – and all abstraction for that matter – is nothing but the visual reification of the random. Each canvas is perfectly weighted, judged and executed – far from simple, spontaneous or accidental... These works do not allude to exterior concepts or draw inspiration from physical forms. Rather, they exist solely within their frames. There is nothing to grasp on to, no hints, no clues, and, as a result, the mind sets to work. Shapes are relegated, promoted, sidelined. Links are drawn only to slacken. Colours become bolder and fade to nothing. Akin to Kazimir Malevich’s much-lauded Black Square (1915), the works are ground zero. They provide absolutely nothing, and in doing so inspire the mind to jump into action. Before you know it, an hour has passed and the works have fully spoken for themselves."