Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 - 2015

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Seven Rotations 1 – 6, 1979, collection of Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler © Dóra Maurer
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 - 2015

77-82 Whitechapel High Street
E1 7QX London
January 15th, 2015 - April 6th, 2015
Opening: January 15th, 2015 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

44 020 75227888
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 11-6; Thu 11-9
film, photographs, painting, modern, sculpture


Whitechapel Gallery announces landmark Abstract art exhibition for 2015

A major new exhibition tracing a century of Abstract art from 1915 to today will open at the Whitechapel Gallery in January.

It brings together over 100 works by 80 modern masters and contemporary artists including Carl Andre, David Batchelor, Dan Flavin, Andrea Fraser, Piet Mondrian, Gabriel Orozco, Hélio Oiticica, Alexander Rodchenko, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Rosemarie Trockel, Theo Van Doesburg and Andrea Zittel, taking over six exhibition spaces across the gallery.

The exhibition takes a fresh look at this new art for a modern age, and asks how art relates to society and politics.

Curated by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, and Magnus af Petersens, Curator at Large, Whitechapel Gallery, Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 – 2015, (15 January – 6 April 2015), is international in its scope. As well as following the rise of Constructivist art from its revolutionary beginnings amongst the avant-garde in Russia and Europe, the exhibition sheds new light on the evolution of geometric abstraction from continents across the globe including Asia, the US and Latin America.

The exhibition begins with Kazimir Malevich’s Black and White. Suprematist Composition (1915), one of a series of paintings included in the famous exhibition The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings: 0.10 in Petrograd, now St Petersburg, in the same year, prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917. This is the starting point for telling the story of Abstract art and its political potential over the next century.

Arranged chronologically, the exhibition is divided into four key themes:

◘ ‘Communication’ examines the possibilities of abstraction for mobilising radical change.

◘ ‘Architectonics’ looks at how abstraction can underpin socially transformative spaces.

◘ ‘Utopia’ imagines a new, ideal society, which transcends hierarchy and class.

◘ ‘The Everyday’ follows the way abstract art filters into all aspects of visual culture, from corporate logos to textile design.


The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, film and photographs spanning the century from 1915 to the present, brought together from major international collections including Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Tate, London; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Further exhibition highlights include an entire wall filled with photographs documenting the radio towers of Moscow and Berlin by Aleksandr Rodchenko and László Moholy-Nagy amongst others, blow-up archive photographs of iconic exhibitions running through the history of abstraction and a selection of magazines which convey revolutionary ideas in art and society through typography and graphic design.

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