Post-war Modern Art Exhibition at the Barbican Centre

The Post-war Modern art movement is one that had multiple facets to it, with the aftermath of WWII impacting different artists perceptions, and therefore the work they created. A recent exhibition at the Barbican Centre, ‘Post-war Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965’, highlighted 48 artists from this period, showcasing both the works and the inspiration behind them.

After the second world war ended, the world was catalytically changed, and thus with it the art that was created. Artists such as Lynn Chadwick made sculptures fashioned out of industrial material, reflecting the aftershock of bomb sites in the post-war era. His piece titled ‘The Fisheater’ from 1951, replicates a predator emulating the iconic mobiles Chadwick began making at the beginning of his career. Despite being delicate in its form, the sculpture is a monument that towers far above the viewer, threatening in its power.

Alan Davie was among the artists featured that reimagined the human body, distorting figures in abstract twists and turns that reflected the change in humanity after the war. Many painters and sculptures created darker works fuelled by the object of fear, as well as eroticism and the development of technology that came about during the 1950s. This piece was a striking example of the mesmerising canvases Davie painted, with every brushstroke being visible. From afar the complex shapes create a distorted figure, surrounded by abstract imagery full of colour, however when you get close the different aspects of the painting show something unique that tie into the rest.

Many other artworks at the time focused on different aspects of the Post-war aftermath and thus new styles began to emerge, including Constructivist art. With a focus on science and mathematics, geometrical abstraction was pioneered by artists such as Victor Pasmore, Adrian Heath, and Robert Adams. Sculptures and paintings alike were on display, all in their unique areas that discussed the themes behind the work.

Overall, the exhibition was a wonderful experience of Post-war Modern art, with the walk through each distinct section hosting incredible artists that showcased a plethora of themes that were being explored at the time. The number of artworks that were on display was impressive, including both well-known and obscure artists that all had interesting stories behind them.

Many of the artists in this exhibition can be found at Farhi Fine Art, such as Alan Davie and Lynn Chadwick. If you’re interested in art from this era and need advice on purchasing some of these works, contact us via our website and we can help with any queries you might have.