Art and architecture developed in parallel throughout the 20th century. In pioneering art schools like the Bauhaus in Germany (1919–33), the two fields, together with craft and design, were understood as an integrated response to the demands of daily life. This produced a new generation of artists, who viewed abstract art as an important influence on architecture, and vice versa. Geometric shapes like squares, rectangles and triangles were often used as the building blocks for an image or design. With harmonious arrangements of interlocking forms, artists looked to the new functional architecture for inspiration. Pared back to only essential elements, with little adornment, these buildings were adapted to meet the new realities of modern life.
The widespread destruction of the Second World War marred this optimism, but also brought about new ways of looking at and imagining the future of our built environment. Artists continued to reference architecture as a starting point for paintings that looked abstract, but still evoked real world spaces and places.
Paintings by the British artist Prunella Clough reflected the growing urbanisation of the country’s landscape and, simultaneously, became increasingly abstract. Often, she mimicked the distance of the camera lens. In her works, this means we could be looking at something in either extreme close-up, or as a long-range or aerial view. Her signature blend of observation and ambiguity produced one of the defining visions of the post-war period, intimately connected to the evolution of our cityscapes.
Parking for visitors is available at both Modern One and Modern Two. A donation is requested of £3 for up to 4 hours and £6 for 4-8 hours. Our payment meters have contactless capability. There is free accessible parking for blue badge holders.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.
Conversations with the Collection
This is display is part of Conversations with the Collection, a changing programme of displays that offers visitors a brand new way to experience the national collection.
A celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art, the thematic displays place creativity and conversation at their core by considering how dialogue and exchange shape and reshape artistic process.
Friends of the Galleries get free unlimited entry to all exhibitions, and enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including early exhibition access, special events and 10% discount in our cafes.
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