Peter Doig, Cabin Essence, 1993–94, oil on canvas, 7' 6 1⁄2“ x 11' 9 3⁄4”.

Peter Doig

Tate Britain

Peter Doig, Cabin Essence, 1993–94, oil on canvas, 7' 6 1⁄2“ x 11' 9 3⁄4”.

AT THE HEART of Tate Britain’s retrospective of Peter Doig is a room of paintings for which the artist is perhaps most known: the “Concrete Cabin” series of 1991–96, comprising views of a modernist building seen through thick, dark trees. Among these works, Cabin Essence, 1993–94, is one of the best, featuring a large expanse of forest with strange floating leaves of paint, composed as though the whole image were a reflection in water. Visible through the trees is the modular black-and-white facade of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation apartment building in Briey-en-Forêt, France, but the emphasis is less on the functional clarity of the architecture than on the mysterious foreground, which evokes the dark, glowing surfaces of Gustave Moreau. Cabin Essence is a great lyrical work that, although telling no particular story, distills the striking format of a strong inner structure

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.