The title of the exhibition at  Tate Britain (www.tate.org.uk) is Queer British Art 1861-1967 until October 1st 2017. An historical journey throughout one of the most controversial and difficult topics: LGBT community, or to quote the title of the exhibition, “queer”, word used to indicate all those people who are not straight.

David Hockney, Life Painting for a Diploma 1962 – Yageo Foundation – Courtesy of Tate London

David Hockney, Life Painting for a Diploma 1962 – Yageo Foundation – Courtesy of Tate London

Starting from pre-Raffaello artists to Francis Bacon and David Hockney  (www.urbanmirrors.com/en/david-hockney), the exhibition unfolds as if it was a tale, rich in emotions and interiority especially due to the delicate side of human souls. A tale made of silence and conflicts, oppressing morality, fear, but also freedom and the will to be present with one’s own individuality and emotions even if they are different from the majority’s.

Paul Tanqueray (1905-1991) “Douglas Byng 1934” -Vintage bromide print 239 x 193 mm – National Portrait Gallery – credits Estate of Paul Tanqueray – Courtesy of Tate London

Paul Tanqueray (1905-1991) “Douglas Byng 1934” -Vintage bromide print 239 x 193 mm – National Portrait Gallery – credits Estate of Paul Tanqueray – Courtesy of Tate London

“Self portrait and Nude” 1913 – Laura Knight (1877-1970) Oil on canvas 152.4 x 127.6 cm – National Portrait Gallery London – Courtesy of Tate London

“Self portrait and Nude” 1913 – Laura Knight (1877-1970) Oil on canvas 152.4 x 127.6 cm – National Portrait Gallery London – Courtesy of Tate London

It is a polyhedral illustration ranging from: photos, books and objects telling about the ironic and dramatic lives of those who have been abandoned or had to hide or even those who managed to emerge loving fearlessly or the extreme choice of some who ended their lives in order to stop suffering.

We can see some famous artists portrayed who experienced hardship like Virginia Woolf by Man Ray;  a portrait of Oscar Wilde by Robert Harper Pennington. This journey ends with the abolition of death penalty for sodomy in 1861 and the abolition of male homosexuality crime in 1967.

So we go deep into the illogicality of this world that represses ancient and natural impulses towards freedom that we are still working on today.

“Out” Keith Vaughan, drawing of two men kissing 1958-73 – Tate Archive, photo credit DACS, The Estate of Keith Vaughan – Courtesy of Tate London

“Out” Keith Vaughan, drawing of two men kissing 1958-73 – Tate Archive, photo credit DACS, The Estate of Keith Vaughan – Courtesy of Tate London

Article by Serena Manna

English translation by Chiara Vilmercati 

Cover image: Henry Scott Tuke “The Critics” 1927 – Oil on panel 412 x 514 mm – Warwick District Council (Leamington Spa, UK) Courtesy of Tate London