In the largest ever display of photographic works to be held at the gallery, Tate St. Ives examines international developments throughout the modernist period.
Arranged broadly by location, the sizeable influence of the Bauhaus school serves as a lynchpin amongst an explosion of experimental photography that simultaneously erupted throughout Europe, the Americas and Japan from the 1920s to the 1960s.
For example, the constructivist lines of Iwao Yamawaki’s architectural shots are shown in relation to the experimental photograms of his professor László Moholy-Nagy, whose influence has long been heralded as essential to the acceptance of photography into the modernist canon. Similarly, Brazilian pioneer Geraldo de Barros ‘s playful engagement with multiple exposures and image manipulation saw an abrupt departure from Expressionist painting, and thanks to his introduction to the Gestalt theory of visual perception, heralded a new aesthetic language that was felt throughout Brazil’s cultural scene.
This exhibition also considers photo-production in the context of other forms of artistic practice. Paintings and sculptures drawn from the collection include pieces from British artists such as Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. By placing these works in the context of photography, the delicate blend of surrealism and pure abstraction that was so intrinsic to the advancement of modernity is fully explored.