Joe Tilson has drawn on a lifetime of inspiration from Italy, in particular Venice, a place he first visited in 1949, aged 21, to explore the mosaics in St Mark's Basilica. Over the past 15 years Tilson has made prints directly related to Venice and its monuments. These works, which depict church façades paired with bold geometric patterns of stone and tiled walls and floors, are collectively entitled Stones of Venice, a title borrowed from John Ruskin's three-volume examination of Venetian art and architecture published in the nineteenth century.
Tilson's new prints, seen here for the first time, depict motifs from San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, one of Venice's oldest churches, San Giorgio Maggiore, a sixteenth-century Benedictine church and Torre dell'Orologio, a sixteenth-century clocktower. The size of each print, 140 x 76 cm, relates to the format of Tilson's recent installation of over 100 flags on London's Regent Street in the summer of 2018. The following year Tilson presented a second commission of flags that was exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale in partnership with Swatch. Through his new prints and recent commissions, Tilson continues to pay tribute to the city he first visited over six decades ago.
Tilson, who is now aged 92 years, has work housed in major public collections all over the world, including Tate, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Galleria Nazionale d Arte Moderna, Rome; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Joe Tilson lives and works in London, Venice and Cortona.
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About the artist
About Joe Tilson
Joe Tilson was born in London in 1928. From 1944 to 1946 he worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker before serving in the R.A.F between 1946 and 1949. After leaving military service, he returned to London to study at St. Martin's School of Art from 1949 to 1952, alongside Leon Kosoff and Frank Auerbach, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 55 where he met Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney, who alongside Tilson were instrumental in the birth of British Pop Art.
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