Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
directed by Paul Edwards
We have awaited this retrospective of Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) for fifty years. And who has set it up: neither London, nor Toronto (where he spent WW II), nor New-Scotland (where he was born). It is Juan March foundation in Madrid. The luxuriant catalogue reflects the chaotic itinerary of the founder of Vorticism. The book in a very pure typography gives this leader of the European avant-garde, the first British abstract painter, a cousin of the Italian Futurists and the Russian Rayonists the place he deserves. His constant attacks against the de Bloomsbury group and his faux pas in 1931 (he signed a book, Hitler, in which he spoke about being favorably impressed by the future Chancellor) won him prolonged ostracism, which not even his later anti-Nazism would compensate. His extraordinary creativity was consequently half forgotten. In this book it is looked at with a magnifying glass: his Abstract period, his manifesto Blast, «in violent pink», his numerous portraits, from Ezra Pound to T.S. Eliot and Edith Sitwell, his work as a typographer and an illustrator (in particular for Timon of Athens by Shakespeare), his remarkable work as an author, combining essays, novels and travel stories.
Review published in the newsletter #173 - from 6 May 2010 to 12 May 2010