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London: Kobro, Strzemiński

January 15, 2015 - April 16, 2015

Among the artists: Katarzyna Kobro, Władysław Strzemiński
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 – 2015

Whitechapel Gallery

 

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm; Thursdays, 11am – 9pm

Admission £13.50 (including Gift Aid donation) £11.95 (without Gift Aid)

 
A major new exhibition tracing a century of Abstract art from 1915 to today will open at the Whitechapel Gallery in January.

It brings together over 100 works by 100 modern masters and contemporary artists including Carl Andre, David Batchelor, Dan Flavin, Andrea Fraser, Katarzyna Kobro, Piet Mondrian, Gabriel Orozco, Hélio Oiticica, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Władysław Strzemiński, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Rosemarie Trockel, Theo Van Doesburg and Andrea Zittel, taking over six exhibition spaces across the gallery.

The exhibition takes a fresh look at this new art for a modern age, and asks how art relates to society and politics.

Curated by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, and Magnus af Petersens, Curator at Large, Whitechapel Gallery, Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 – 2015, is international in its scope.

As well as following the rise of Constructivist art from its revolutionary beginnings amongst the avant-garde in Russia and Europe, the exhibition sheds new light on the evolution of geometric abstraction from continents across the globe including Asia, the US and Latin America.

The exhibition begins with Kazimir Malevich’s Black and White. Suprematist Composition (1915), one of a series of paintings included in the famous exhibition The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10 in Petrograd, now St Petersburg, in the same year, prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917. This is the starting point for telling the story of Abstract art and its political potential over the next century.

Arranged chronologically, the exhibition is divided into four key themes:
· _‘Communication’ examines the possibilities of abstraction for mobilising radical change.
· _‘Architectonics’ looks at how abstraction can underpin socially transformative spaces.
· _‘Utopia’ imagines a new, ideal society, which transcends hierarchy and class.
· _‘The Everyday’ follows the way abstract art filters into all aspects of visual culture, from corporate logos to textile design.

Katarzyna Kobro’s Spatial Composition 2, 1928 and Władysław Strzemiński’s Spatial Composition 1, 1948 will appear in the theme ‘architectonics’ which looks at how abstraction underpins socially transformative space.
Both works will come from the Muzeum Sztuki in Łodź which Kobro and Strzemiński founded in 1931.

Additionally, on display there will be a fantastic selection of archival and documentary work to be displayed to contextualise the exhibitions.
Amongst these are beautiful editions of avant-garde publications from the early 20th Century:

· Blok Magazine published between 1924 – 26 in Warsaw edited by Polish artists Henryk Stażewski, Teresa Zarnowerowna, Mieczysław Szczuka and by Edmund Miller (Issues
· Dżwignia, n. 4 published in 1927 in Warsaw by Mieczyslaw Szczuka
· Praesens, n. 1 published in 1926 in Warsaw
· Bundistn, vol. 1 published in 1928 in Warsaw by Henryk Berlewi and Jacob Pat

These beautiful publications created by artists as extensions of their practice feature throughout the exhibition and in the scholarly catalogue. They are on loan from the Archivo Lafuente in Santander which houses one of the most important collections of documentary material devoted to modern and contemporary art including books, magazines, catalogues, manifestos, pamphlets, ephemeral publications, prints, letters, cards, manuscripts, objects, photographs, pictures and projects.