London

London

WILLIAM BLAKE

Tate Britain
Millbank
September 11, 2019–February 2, 2020

Curated by Martin Myrone and Amy Concannon

Bodies outstretched, penetrated, erect, bent, or radiant are as omnipresent in William Blake’s visual work as geometrical figures in Constructivist painting. The boundaries that delineate their arms and torsos and heads declare themselves the most vital elements and principal conundrums of his style. Trunks can twist and chests be pierced in Blake’s pictures, and arms can reach painfully outward, but the “hard and wiry line of rectitude” enclosing them remains unfashionably unbroken. So much the worse for fashion. Tate’s comprehensive display of three hundred works from across Blake’s life should serve as a historical reminder that these thick, sensuous outlines of the body still have better fucking things to do than stand sentry in the metaphorical imagination of this or that fascist regime. They are the exclamation marks of the senses, in a Jerusalem without checkpoints.