Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Mad Square

NGV Catalogue cover using Suicide (detail), George Grosz, 1916

As an 18 year-old studying for my Art and History of Art 'A' levels, I admired the work of George Grosz, Otto Dix, Wassily Kandinsky, Rudolph Schlicter... many of the artists who've since been lumped together as German Expressionists, but who also became directly or indirectly involved with Dada, Bauhaus, and the like - post-World War One, post-Blue Rider and all that.  For a while I tried drawing like some of them, and held onto one piece that was clearly influenced by the likes of Grosz, Max Beckmann and Georg Scholz .  (Took it out and dusted it down today, then promptly hid it back in my folio again.)  It suited the person I was at that time, and aspects of the world I saw about me.

Eats, Paul Burman, 1976

'Under my rule, it shall come to pass ... in this livery will I clothe ye.' from The Robbers portfolio, George Grosz, 1922

I was delighted, therefore, to be in Melbourne recently, shortly after an exhibition, which celebrates "modernity in German art" and places it in its historical perspective, was opened. The Mad Square features an impressively broad range of work, from Franz Marc, Rudolf Belling, August Sander, El Lissitzky, Erich Dieckmann, to name just a few.  The period from 1910-1937 is presented in paintings, prints, photogaphs, collages, films, sculpture, furniture, and well worth a visit if you're in Melbourne. It runs until 4th March 2012.

So many wonderful pieces.  By way of giving a taster, here are two of my current favourites:

 Self-portrait, Christian Schad, 1927

Triad, Rudolph Belling, 1918-19

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