“THIS IS TOMORROW” exhibition in the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956

Last friday I went to the Withechapel gallery and saw this little room where they retraced “This is tomorrow” exhibition, in this same gallery but, in 1956. It was about the organisation of it: plans, texts, videos, posters, brochures etc. I knew about this exhibition because it had a real impact in those years but I was happy to discover it with real authentic papers (or else) from this period and dig in it.

“Yesterday tomorrow is not today.”

This art exhibition started because at this period as Edward Wrigh said their was a “split between art and design”. All the art profession could participate (architect, painters, sculpture, graphic designers etc.) with their independent creation (made only for this exhibition/ no rules or subject but use of the most modern materials and ideas in new ways) and the final point was to creat one coherent and harmonious environment suggesting a model of multidisciplinary collaboration. They were no presence of interpretation panels or others information so that the visitors had to make their own analysis and judgment. They really wanted to challenge the audience. It’s a moment where art met its public – history of “the exhibition”.  The final section was about advertising and was significant in reviling how the media of the 1950’s celebrated novels and mass-produced products. How these were to influence all areas of life? Permeation of technology and mass culture in everyday life.  The Withchapel Gallery was considered in these years as a “playground of modern art”. (Is it still now?) The modern art was here to “entertain people” and was a “game people wanted to play” (quotes from Lawrence Alloway). It was a new approach to visual arts for this period and was precursory of Pop Art in Britain.

“Man’s visual environment is a mess today because most people have eyes that does not see; they do not feel the need for visual organisation.” Lawrence Alloway

Is that where we are back today? Is a new sort of order needed?  I didn’t feel like those problems were solved in our era and I thought it was important they reinstalled those pieces of work because it made me realised that I needed to think more about all the points they lifted.


Posted on March 2, 2011, in Manifesto, Rhetoric. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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