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EUROPE | Future — from the city to the stars

2015-04-15

Visions of the future accompany human race for a long time. In the XX and XXI century those visions come truth. The outburst of the urbanization, the huge wave of new technologies and finally fulfilled dream of space travel were constantly whipping up artists imaginary and had their reflection in art, literature and film. To those fascinations is devoted an exhibition in Centre de la Vieille Charité in Marseille, lasting from May 22 to September 27, 2015.

The exhibition entitled Future — from the city to the stars. Matisse, Miró, Calder, presents the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century and their artistic statements about technical and scientific progress in the fields of architecture, industry, transport, astronautic and astronomy. The exhibition is divided into three parts, each one depicted another approach to future and showing it’s another face. First part, inspired by Fritz Lang science-fiction movie Metropolis, provides the representation of the industrial city, with all its drawbacks and virtues. In artistic visions it can be a space endowed with harsh beauty, giving a feel of being in the beating heart of modern world. On the other hand, hectic labyrinths of streets with a landscape of skyscrapers and factories, full of machinery and chimneys, becoming an oppressive and alienating system. Those both mesmerizing and alarming visions are depicted by pieces by Fernand Léger, Kazimir Malevich or Charles Demuth, to name but a few.

The second pad symbolized by The War of the Worlds continues the sombre diagnosis of the future. The planetary conflict and invasion from outer space became a popular theme in 50. pop culture, metaphorically illustrating the obsession of cold war and nuclear attack, strengthen by the fear of mechanization. This part explores those anxieties on the examples such as Konrad Klapheck’s Science-Fiction Scape or Male World by Erró.

Third part of the exhibition took inspiration from the interest in astronomy, ravishment over the idea of space exploration and reborn faith in technological progress. The symbol of this pad is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:Space Odyssey. Fascination about cosmic travel can be found in pieces like Portrait of Gordon Cooper by Martial Raysse or The Fiancée of Space by Bernard Rancillac.

On the exhibition, a wide range of artists and movements is exemplified, starting from the Russian Constructivism (Malevich, Rodchenko) through Surrealism (Matta, Ernst, Masson, Dominguez, Man Ray and Duchamp), the New Realism (Raysse, Klein), the Precisionism in US (Sheeler, Demuth, O'Keeffe), finishing on the narrative figuration (Rancillac, Monory) and mechanical art (Erró). Artists visions of the future are often apocalyptic, but also euphoric, showing enthusiasm about science, industry, technology and architecture as well as asking questions about human place in constantly developing technology. According to one of the exhibition’s curators, Guillaume Theulière, visitors could learn that scientific progress is central to the issues raised by the avant-garde artists who, by this way, question the human condition. Our questioning is inspired by the myth of Icare illustrated by Matisse (Jazz album), reminiscent of the necessary human exceeded to reach the physical world knowledge.

Weronika de Oliveira
Source: press release


Erró, Programme spatial (1979)
 


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