Monday, December 5, 2011

Mad Square exhibition...

Mad square exhibition
A Lissitsky work promoting the exhibition.

Last weekend we popped along to the National Gallery of Victoria to check out the Mad Square:  Modernity in German Art 1910-37 exhibition.  The exhibition covered some of my favourite periods of art; German Expressionism, Dada, Constructivism and Bauhaus. 


Mad square exhibition
Cover of the catalogue for the exhibition.

I would say that this is probably not going to be the 'blockbuster exhibition' like some of the Winter Masterpieces exhibitions at the NGV but it is one that appealed to me.  The works on show never get old to me, they still express a raw innovation, an excitement of the new.  I was pretty excited to view a series of Hannah Hoch collages in the flesh.  Her work was such an inspiration and influence on my own practice in terms of what could be achieved with collage.


Mad square exhibition
Some of the beautiful Hannah Hoch collages.

It's funny because I feel like I've gone to quite a few exhibitions that covered these works recently (well in the last 12 to 18 months).  We visited a huge Bauhaus exhibition at MOMA in NYC when we were there last and I stocked up on lots of books about the movement and various artists.  It was pretty funny that some of our favourite works in the Mad Square exhibition were by El Lissitzky.  When I came home, I had realized that I had purchased a great little book on his work in New York.  It's weird how these artists and works keep popping up in my consciousness.  I am sure that they are filtering into my work but in a very uncontrolled manner.


Mad square exhibition
My gorgeous Lissitsky book from NYC.


I guess the things that I loved about the exhibition were that:
  • these works are still so exciting, fresh and innovative even after all this time.  To me, this was one hell of a time in the arts!
  • I loved the ethos of the Bauhaus movement and seeing the camaraderie amongst artists and designers, creating works that were practical and that crossed mediums as well.
  • Women artists during this time were having such an impact on the scene!  They were making works that were challenging, political and equal to the men.
  • As a tapestry weaver, I loved seeing woven works being created and designed by artists to bring these ideas into the home as well.
If you get a chance, go check out Mad Square at the NGV.  I think that it is on until early March 2012.  I can see that I will probably go back for a second look too.

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