Until 5 January, Leiden’s Museum De Lakenhal will fully focus on revolutionary Utopia's. Works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Kazimir Malevich, Franz Marc and over 130 others will exemplify the all-encompassing ideals of expressionists and constructivists: two of the major avant-garde movements at the dawn of the 20th century. The exhibition ‘UTOPIA 1900-1940. Visions of a New World’ comprises international contributions, many of which have not been on display to the Dutch public before, and brings the two movements together in a radically original context.
The avant-gardists felt they stood on the brink of a new era. They wished to achieve their aims by developing a utopian concept for a New Man in a New Society in a convincing and radical manner. This comprehensive concept comprised the arts, architecture and design: artists would design life from teaspoons to skyscrapers with the aim to better society. Nevertheless, expressionists and constructivists had diametrically opposed views: expressionism was focussed on personal freedom, individuals that literally exposed themselves, in particular emotionally. Constructivism envisaged individuals as part of a grand scheme, and standardisation and universality were its main cornerstones.