XL TV art show.
Social commentary meets slam poetry.
15 Dec 2007 8pm
The concluding episode, Uncertainty, tells the story of modern art and culture, from its beginnings in artists like Picasso, Klee and Mondrian right up to the present day.
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Director Neil Crombie writes (Nov 07)
In the final episode of Matthew Collings’ epic sweep through the history of art and civilisation, Collings brings the story from the birth of modern art around the turn of the 20th century right up to the present day. What are we now? What can we still believe in? Are we nearing the end of civilisation?
Collings argues that modern art is fundamentally different from the art of the earlier periods of history he’s been exploring in this series in one fundamental respect. Instead of offering us a heroic vision of humanity, and reflecting back to us the higher values we might aspire to, modern art has always tried to show us as we really are: unheroic, free, confused, and above all uncertain.
He starts his journey with some of the sensationally new and world-changing classic works of early 20th entury modernism – the savage impact of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon, the dreamy abstracts of Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian, and the stunning, stark architecture of le Corbusier.
He shows how art like this was a new vision of what we are, a vision more in tune with the fractured nature of modern reality. He tells the story of how the Nazis tried to eradicate and vilify modern art, and tried to replace modern art’s uncertainty with their own crushing certainties.
Then he travels to New York, to show how modern art’s relationship with modern life changed, first with the rise of the Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, then with the Pop Artists like Andy Warhol.
His journey ends in the booming, turbo-charged art world of contemporary Beijing, where Collings explores what the big questions of art and civilization he’s been discussing look like from China.
This series has looked at some of the greatest works of art and architecture the civilisation of the past has produced. When we look at the art that our times have produced, should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about the future of civilisation?