Collaboration; The Creative Core of Artistry

By Jo Phillips

Sometimes two really is better than one. Marina Abramović and her partner Ulay to collaborative peers like Warhol with Basquiat, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; The creative industry loves a collaboration; some are stranger than others. But through history, many great works have come about by the meeting of creativley in-touch artists. Duos who have shaped and continue to shape the art world today Find out more here in Collaboration; The Creative Core of Artistry.

Image on left Wall of Eyes tempera, gouache and gesso on linen 110cm x 110cm 2023, Curtesy of TIN MAN ART

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

In September 2021, the art world proved collaboration was key when Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped was posthumously created. Both artists who worked together for much of their lives were firmly ‘on the other side’ when the work went live.

The iconic national monument in Paris was wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric, was actually executed 60 years after they originally conceived the idea in 1961.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

First introduced to each other in 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat was keen to impress his idol Andy Warhol. Basquiat early in his career was selling postcards and t-shirts on the side of the street. In the early 1980s, Warhol had purchased a postcard from Basquiat on the side of the road for $10.

The art dealer Bruno Bischofberger discovered the young artist painting in lower Manhattan, kickstarting his career, and introducing the two again just a few years later. There are thought to be 160 works that Warhol and Basquiat created together with Warhol starting and Basquiat taking them further.

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg

Abstract Expressionists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg created the American neo-Dada movement. Combine, a term to describe Rauschenberg’s works that included everyday objects in his abstract paintings, is often attributed to Jasper. Their relationship was one of the greatest love stories in modern art. A time of intense emotional involvement, together they plotted the downfall of Abstract Expressionism in their grubby paint-strewn apartments in downtown New York.

So many artists’ collaborations in the past made each artist involved more known than they already were. Some were via friendships some via creative admiration that brought them together Think Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp or Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili. Still, the collaborations go on.

Unchecked tempera, gouache and gold leaf on canvas 100cm x 100cm 2022, Curtesy of TIN MAN ART

Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood

Following the incredibly successful ‘part one’, a sell-out show that included an acquisition by Maastricht’s Bonnefanten Museum, Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood return to TIN MAN ART with a series of all-new works for ‘The Crow Flies: Part Two.

Shortly after the first exhibition opened (10th-15th September 2023), the painting When The End Has Come (2022was acquired by the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, a fine arts institution that has been in existence for over 150 years.

Let Us Raise Our Glasses To What We Don’t Deserve tempera, gouache and gesso on linen 110cm x 110cm 2023, Curtesy of TIN MAN ART.

“Back in September, ‘The Crow Flies: part one’ received over 700 visitors a day – I’ve been working in the art world for 20 years and I’ve never known a selling show so well attended – and we’ve since been overwhelmed with enquiries from art and music lovers from all over the world in anticipation of ‘part two’. I’m thrilled that a piece from the first show is joining the Bonnefanten’s collection and, as ‘part two’ is a continuation of that same visual magic, I’m excited to hear what people think.”

James Elwes, TIN MAN ART Director

The exhibition will also exclusively showcase for the first time the new album artwork for The Smile’s just-announced sophomore album Wall of Eyes, which will be released on 26th January 2024 a follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed debut album, A Light For Attracting Attention

Frozen Raw tempera, gouache and gold leaf on canvas 90cm x 70cm 2022, Curtesy of TIN MAN ART

The Smile is a trio comprising Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, together with jazz drummer Tom Skinner. The band’s name was taken from Ted Hughes’s seminal poetry collection Crow, which has also inspired the title of the exhibitions.

Now, Yorke and Donwood will continue the visual journey they revealed at TIN MAN ART in September with 13 new works, including large-scale paintings, drawings and a woven tapestry. 

Inspired by Wall of Eyes, the works are closely linked with the process of making the album and were further developed at Abbey Road studios during the band’s recording session there. Fusing the collaborative nature of music with art, Donwood set up a studio inside the famous building with dust sheets, easels, huge blank canvases and a live audio feed of the sessions from the adjoining control room.

Donwood and Yorke then worked on a series of paintings over the ensuing two weeks. With liberal use of paint, layer upon layer has been applied, echoing the restorations and weathering that centuries-old artwork would withstand. The 10 paintings they created include the entirety of the album artwork and will be on display at Cromwell Place in December.

A new tapestry, which has been specially commissioned by the artists in conjunction with TIN MAN ART, will also be shown. Woven in Flanders, it is a re-creation of the Wall of Eyes album cover.

One of Many tempera and gouache on canvas 120cm x 80cm 2022, Curtesy of TIN MAN ART.

The Crow Flies exhibitions are part of an on-going decades-long collaboration between the pair, which encompasses Radiohead albums and materials, solo project The Eraser and the picture book Dead Children Playing. Drawing on a long-held fascination with maps and topography, the works in ‘part one’ were inspired by a range of sources including the 17th-century maps of Persian pirates and 1960s US military charts, and utilised materials such as water-based gouache, egg tempera and powdered mushroom.

The Crow Flies: part two promises to continue this exciting new chapter in Yorke and Donwood’s artistic partnership. It demonstrates the uniqueness of these two artists, as well as their creative process. The way in which the works have come to fruition has been likened to making a record by Yorke, with the exploration of paint akin to musicians who “start with little and keep going until something appears”. 

The end result can now be enjoyed by the public who will be able to get up close with these grand-scale canvasses.

The Crow Flies: part two is presented by TIN MAN ART 4 Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JE

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