What you see is where you're at

  • 28th November 2009 − 28th February 2010 | Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | Admission free


In the twentieth century, artists sought to emphasise that their works were not ‘copies' of objects seen, but objects in their own right. By making the brush mark as obvious as the things or scene represented, the artist highlighted their significance. In post-war art, this was emphasised by building up the layers of paint on the canvas.

Unlike painting, collage only became a part of Fine Art practice in about 1912, when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque adopted the practice of sticking newspaper and other items onto their paintings and drawings. With collage, instead of painting an object, the artist could simply stick the object itself onto the picture. This was a radical new departure and within a few years dozens of other artists had followed their lead.

In the 1950s, many British artists turned towards an art based on pure geometry. This new art echoed the post-war enthusiasm for everything modern, the interest in developments in science and technology, and the desire to build a new, utopian society. Artists used new materials including Perspex and Formica and experimented with different ways of creating art, such as making constructions instead of producing ‘old-fashioned' paintings.


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