Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern

Artists and Designers Exhibitions Historical textiles Selvedge shows and workshops

The Sonia Delaunay EY exhibition at Tate Modern is structured chromatically and walking through each room a strong sense of her life both in and out of the studio colours the experience. The layout of the exhibition allows visitors to build a relationship with the work that keeps Delaunay at the centre. Throughout the show Sonia's commitment to abstraction and colour is unquestionable while her progression in terms of influence and concepts is conveyed in text.


Recognised for breaking away from conventional forms of artwork Sonia Delaunay developed a personal style profoundly influenced by movement, culture, figuration and abstraction. She captured the energy of music, city life and dance in a colour palette all her own. Her work reached its apex with 'Simultanism', a concept focusing on contrasting colours and imagery. Sonia would spend evenings watching tango dancers or music performances, sparking a performative element in her pieces. She designed costumes for shows and ballets creating interaction between these forms of movement alongside colour and form, unifying them as one.


Short black and white films, bolts of dynamic fabrics and mannequins dressed head to toe in her boldly printed 'Simulanté' collection demonstrate Delaunay's skill in a multitude of mediums. Marketed as 'wearable pieces of art', her fashion designs offered liberation from traditional textiles and set wearers apart from the 1920's simple silhouette. Instead, Sonia used clothing as a canvas – geometric arrangements remain integral in all formats for her work.

Electric Prisms no.41 1913-14

Although these compositions initially appear strikingly simple this exhibition offers an insight into the complicated reasoning behind each work –Delaunay's true colours.

15 April - 9 August 2015

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG,

+44 (0)20 7887 8888, 


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  • Val Shields on

    I have admired Sonia Delaunay’s work for ages and am looking forward very much to being able to visit this exhibition.

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