Vorticism in Britain 1910 â€“ 1920. The exhibition explores the importance of the influence exerted on these artists by such Italian Futurists as Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and Ardegno Soffici and, of course, Marinetti. Vorticism may have been a short-lived movement but it was an immensely influential one for British art during the remainder of the 20th century and the dynamic works on show can still evoke 'the shock of the new' for another generation. Today a letture by Jonathan Black, curator of the exhibition.
Vorticism in Britain 1910 â€“ 1920
Vorticism is one of the most important and distinctive avantgarde art movements of the early twentieth century, andwas Britainâ€™s most significant contribution to the development of modernism.
Established in 1914 by the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis, Vorticism aimed to liberate British culture from the suffocating legacy of the Victorian era, promoting a dynamic art that would embrace and reflect the industrial age through an imagery of hard-edged, geometric and often completely abstract forms.
The Vorticist manifesto appeared in the first issue of the movementâ€™s official publication Blast. Its signatories included William Roberts, Lawrence Atkinson, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Helen Saunders, Edward Wadsworth and the American poet Ezra Pound, who gave the movement its name. Although it did not survive the First World War, Vorticism achieved its ambition of revitalising British art. In many respects it was greatly indebted to the Italian Futurist movement, which was very active in London during the early years of the twentieth century, yet the British artists consistently rejected such comparisons and fiercely defended their independence.
Blasting the Future! provides a long-overdue examination of this important movement and its turbulent and complex relationship with Futurism. All of the major Vorticists are represented, in addition to figures such as Jacob Epstein and David Bomberg â€“ who were sympathetic to the aims of the movement but never belonged to it â€“ and Englandâ€™s only true Futurist, C.R.W. Nevinson.
The exhibition explores the importance of the influence exerted on these artists by such Italian Futurists as Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and Ardegno Soffici and, of course, Marinetti. Vorticism may have been a short-lived movement but it was an immensely influential one for British art during the remainder of the 20th century and the dynamic works on show can still evoke 'the shock of the new' for another generation.
The exhibition is organised in conjunction with the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, where it will be shown after making its debut at the Estorick The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art opened in 1998 to show works from the remarkable collection of Eric and Salome Estorick. Powerful images by the main protagonists of the early 20th-century Italian avant-garde Futurist movement such as Balla, Boccioni, CarrÃ , Severini, Russolo and Soffici, are shown alongside works by such figurative artists as Modigliani, Sironi and Campigli and the metaphysical painter de Chirico.
The museum has a library of over 2,000 books, primarily on early 20th-century Italian art, and houses a cafÃ© and a gallery shop.
GALLERY TALKS at 15.00
Informal talks on aspects of the exhibition last approximately 40 mins and are free with an admission ticket purchased on the day.
Saturday 14 February
Sensation! Futurism and Vorticism in London 1910 â€“ 1920
Jonathan Black, curator of the exhibition
Saturday 28 February
Vorticism, Wyndham Lewis-Style.
Richard Humphreys, Head of Interpretation and Education, Tate
Saturday 13 March
War as Hygiene? Futurists and Vorticists in the Great War.
James Hayward, publisher and military historian
Saturday 20 March
Rebecca Beasley, Lecturer in English, Birkbeck College, University of London
Saturday 27 March
Helen Saunders and Vorticism.
Biddy Peppin, University of East London
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
39a Canonbury Square London N1 2AN
Wednesday to Saturday 11.00 - 18.00
Sunday 12.00 - 17.00
Closed Monday and Tuesday