The ‘Opera’ series of collages


The Opera series of collages in acrylic on Velin Arches, incorporating – like the related Icon series, whose works are distinguished by their totemic scale and imagery – Clarke’s signature geometric reticules and amorphic shapes in the form of painted, assembled cut-outs of watercolour paper, photographs, and newsprint overlaid a wash of black or coloured brushstrokes. Made in New York and London, the series' name ‘Opera’ is taken from the Italian word for ‘work’ (an exploration through Clarke’s output of the 80s, appearing in the titles of pieces, and graphically as painted or collaged text in works on canvas and on paper), a selection were exhibited at the Robert Fraser Gallery in 1984, and later at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, and the Phillips de Pury retrospective Works on Paper 1969–2011.