Modern Times:
responding to chaos


an exhibition of drawing and film
selected by Lutz Becker


16 January - 14 March 2010

Modern Times is a new series of exhibitions where we invite creative people to trace pathways through the 20th and 21st centuries. Exhibition by exhibition, the series will build an informal, accumulative history of the art of our times.

Lutz Becker is a film-maker, painter and curator of exhibitions. Born in East Berlin, he came to London to study at the Slade and stayed on. For this exhibition he combined drawing, the oldest and most fundamental medium, with film, one of the most modern. Both, in their own ways, embody time and a sense of the transient.

The subtitle ‘responding to chaos’ reflects the predicament of artists addressing a period marked by totalitarian regimes, world wars, the threat of nuclear or climatic extinction, and accelerating technological and social change. Theirs is a distinctly urban art, largely uninvolved in the contemplation of nature. As the novelist Malcolm Bradbury has observed: ‘Modernism is our art; it is the one art that responds to the scenario of our chaos.’ Lutz Becker explores the urge towards abstraction and its ongoing dialogue with figuration, and the conversation between the geometric and the gestural.

While being presented non-chronologically – to explore links across time and geography – the exhibition runs the gamut from Italian Futurism and Russian Constructivism via Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism and Conceptualism. It includes work by well known artists such as Boccioni, Malevich, Mondrian, Grosz, Klee, Pollock, de Kooning, Giacometti, Bourgeois, Beuys, Serra, Judd and Twombly, as well as artists sidelined in the mainstream of art history.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Lutz Becker, Iain Boyd Whyte, David Elliott and Nicholas Wadley. It also provides the context for programmes of talks, music and films.

 

DAY CONFERENCE - MODERNISM AND UTOPIA
27 February, 11.00am-4.00pm, £50 (£40 full time students and unwaged) including light lunch and refreshments

Day of illustrated talks around the subject of Modernism and Utopia with a broad range of speakers to accompany the Modern Times exhibition.

Conference - download pdf of programme with synopses.

A day of illustrated talks including: Iain Boyd Whyte (Edinburgh University) on ‘The German Utopia: Expressionism, National Socialism and the Fable of Community’ Christina Lodder (St Andrew’s University) on ‘The Russian Avant-garde and Utopia’ Tim Benton (Open University) on ‘A perfectly Roman Modernism: Juggling with Mussolini’s Utopia’
Nina Lubbren
(Anglia Ruskin University) on 'From Romanticism to Modernism' with discussion and film clips introduced by Lutz Becker.

Venue: Churchill College

Films at the Arts Picturehouse    Arts Picturehouse

an introduction
JUST WHAT WAS MODERN ABOUT MODERNISM?
31 January, 3.00pm
exploration of film and art with Ian Christie

PANDORA'S BOX
7 February, 2.00pm
Pandora's Box (1929) (German: Die Büchse der Pandora) with piano accompaniment by one of the UK's foremost silent film accompanists Stephen Horne.
For more about Stephen Horne: http://www.stephenhorne.co.uk/

BLOW UP
14 February, 2.30pm

THINGS TO COME
21 February, 2.30pm
Things To Come (1936), a British science fiction film produced by Alexander Korda and directed by William Cameron Menzies.

SPELLBOUND (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945)
22 February, 6.30pm
Chance to see Hitchcock on the big screen.

KING KONG
28 February, 2.30pm
See the original King Kong

BLADE RUNNER (1982, Ridley Scott)
5 March, 2.30pm

HIGH TREASON & THE FUGITIVE FUTURIST
7 March, 2.30pm
High Treason (1929 Maurice Elvey) and The Fugitive Futurist (1924, Gaston Quiribet) with accompaniment by Neil Brand, described as ‘doyen of silent film pianists’ (Radio 4).
For more on Neil Brand see: http://www.neilbrand.com/silent_pianist_speaks.shtml

FILM EXPERIMENTS AND OBSESSIONS
11 March, 5.00pm
explore experimental film with Lutz Becker, David Curtis and Al Rees

FILM: MODERN TIMES
14 March, 5.00pm
Venue to be confirmed - please contact the Arts Picturehouse
Modern Times (1936) starring Charlie Chaplin.