Thursday, 15 January 2015

Adventures of the Black Square - Whitechapel Gallery

Peter Halley, Auto Zone, 1992
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015 is at Whitechapel Gallery until 6 April 2015.
Last year Tate Modern presented a fascinating show of the work of Kazimir Malevich, creator of the revolutionary Black Square in 1915 (see below). Now Whitechapel Gallery is showing an ambitious exploration of the story of abstraction as it evolved through the following 100 years in the work of some 100 artists.
The exhibition follows 4 themes: Utopia, Architectonics, Communication, and the Everyday and charts the life of geometric abstraction through painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design and textiles, from Russia to the USA, from Europe to Asia and Latin America, from revolutionary politics to corporate capitalism, from the spiritual to the material. It promises to be a rich and fascinating story. (I was fascinated to learn from Adrian Searle's review that Amalia Pica's Memorial for intersections #2 (see image, below) refers to the banning of the use of Venn Diagrams in primary schools in Argentina in the 1970s - on the grounds that they were believed to encourage subversive thought!?)
Read reviews by Adrian Searle, Laura Cumming, Waldemar Januszczak, Jackie Wullschlager, J J Charlesworth, Louisa Buck and Charley Peters and an article by Frances Spalding. See also, below, for information about the complementary exhibition: David Batchelor: Monochrome Archive, 1997-2015.
Kazimir Malevich, Black and White Suprematist Composition, 1915

El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge!, 1919–1920
Aleksandr Rodchenko, Radio Station Tower, 1929
Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red, 1937
Hélio Oititica, Metaesquema 464, 1958
Josef Albers, Homage to the Square: Post Autumn,1963
Dan Flavin, Monument for V. Tatlin, 1966
Carl Andre, 10 x 10 Altstadt Lead Square, 1967
Daniel Buren, Seven Ballets in Manhattan, 1975
(To be restaged in London during the course of the exhibition.)
Jenny Holzer, Top Secret 32, 2010
Rosemarie Trockel, Cogito, erg sum, 1988
Amalia Pica, Memorial for intersections #2, 2013

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