Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel

Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel installation view. Image © Dali Liu

Planning Studio, Chelsea College of Arts, November 2019
Curated by: Zehui Gao, Asya Gurevich, Dali Liu, Celina Loh, Lisa Logotheti, Samuel Marshall, Ruiying Wang, Qinru Zhou – MA Curating & Collections 2019/20

Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel is a speculative exhibition proposal displayed within the MA Curating and Collections department. This project is in response to the Planning Studio space, which is a study area, planning space and room for research display. The premise was that the proposal can be as bold as we wish. Curators had free reign over the concept, budget and overall decisions, whilst respecting the aims, values and potential limitations of the chosen institution.

The exhibition is intended to be displayed at the Eyal Ofer Galleries at the Tate Modern, and traces the evolution of the Rothko Chapel through archive materials including letters, photographs, models and drawings. At the same time it closely examines Rothko’s fascination with light and space, as he developed the project alongside leading architects such as Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. Looking at Rothko’s practice against the historical backdrop of the Chapel, this exhibition offers new ways of understanding Rothko’s work and ideology, beyond the surfaces of the paintings themselves.

The following is an excerpt from our press release:

Explore the fascinating history behind the great artist’s most ambitious project.

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is one of the 20th century’s most important artists, a key member of the Abstract Expressionist movement and an influential player in the development of colour field painting. His groundbreaking work challenged conventional modes of representation and sought to express the whole range of emotion through abstraction of form, space and colour.

Speaking about his paintings, Rothko said: “I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom…” 

Suffering from depression and alcoholism, Rothko tragically committed suicide shortly before the completion of his most ambitious project – The Rothko Chapel. A culmination of his core ideas, the chapel was a specially built space for the experience of Rothko’s works and is a symbol of the artist’s enduring importance and evidence of the power his works still have on audiences today.

Discover the fascinating story behind the chapel, and journey into Rothko’s influences, ideas and ambitions. Bringing together an array of archive materials chroni- cling the project, alongside paintings by the artist, Mark Rothko: Toward The Light In The Chapel offers a fresh insight into the mind of one of the world’s most important artists.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide more images due to copyright laws.

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