Modern Times is an exciting and moving exhibition which reminds me most forcefully that that anything is possible. It is hugely liberating to see such a vast array of marks, gestures, smudges, measured lines and calligraphic mark hung together in a stimulating and thought provoking way. The Saturday walk and talk was well attended and those who took part were excited to see some of the key artists of the 20th and 21st centuries all hung together in Bexhill on Sea.
Our tour looked at the way artists, in the search for something fresh, reject the past and rejoice, like the Futurists in speed and technology or like the Abstract Expressionists make grand and expansive gestures in non-representational ways. Some artists like to play with ideas and hide their drawn line in a tin like Piero Manzoni, which someone suggested was like Schrödinger’s cat theory, which all got a bit confusing !
100 years ago our lives would have been very different and we talked about the things we have now and take for granted such as flying, telephones, electricity, cinema etc and how some of these artists were responding to, what must have seemed, very exciting new technologies through their art. They were also responding to changing political systems and keen to adapt to or reflect their sympathies, or otherwise, with communism, socialism, fascism and capitalism.
Over a cup of tea we talked about the pleasure derived from seeing a modest Mondrian which clearly expressed both his past and future and then turning around to see the intensity and drama of Auerbach’s tree. We finished off by throwing around ideas about the changing scale of artists work by comparing Tony Bevan’s vast heads with the more portable drawings found in Gallery 1.