Discover the work of Ken Kiff (1935-2001) in this important reappraisal of one of the most original artists working in Britain at the end of the 20th century.
In the first museum exhibition of Ken Kiff for almost 25 years, The Sequence focuses on a unique series of almost 200 acrylic paintings on paper, which he began in 1971 and continued to work on intermittently until his death.
Hung sequentially, the installation will reveal the evolution of Kiff’s ideas from their tentative beginnings to the expansion of key themes as the series progressed. Kiff compared The Sequence to a musical symphony, structured by interconnected themes and rhythms. It was a construct through which he could explore ways of thinking about reality and about how painting might express the paradoxical and arbitrary experiences of life.
Kiff drew from a wide variety of sources in order to bring what might be called a form of ‘poetic primitivism’ to the work. The paintings’ motifs referenced stories from the myths and folktales of many different cultures and he used his own experience of psychoanalysis to explore multiple facets of the human psyche. The figurative elements of the images were fluidly combined with abstract forms and ways of using colour that were a response to ideas found in Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. It was an approach to painting that resulted in an utterly distinctive visual language, which brought Kiff to prominence during the 1980s and 1990s.