Alice Maude-Roxby: Resist: be modern (again)

Alice Maude-RoxbyWe are delighted to be lending items from MoDA’s collections to the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton for an exhibition curated by our colleague, Alice Maude-Roxby, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Middlesex University. Alice has curated the exhibition with Stefanie Seibold of the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria.

The exhibition, Resist: be modern (again) explores the practices of women artists, designers and writers of the 1920s and 1930s through the work of contemporary artists. These early pioneering women were important ground-breakers for their time, and many of their ideas are still relevant today. Their battles against social conventions and aesthetic dogmas paved the way for today’s understanding of an expanded field of art, as well as for contemporary personal freedoms.

innovative women artists

The exhibition features work by a wide range of women artists, designers, writers, editors, film-makers and performers.  MoDA has lent work by textile designer Enid Marx, and we are pleased to see her work displayed alongside other female artists including writer Virginia Woolf, textile designers Barron and Larcher, photographer Berenice Abbott and writer and art critic Elizabeth McCausland, among many others.

All of these women were responsible for highly innovative art, design and publishing, much of which has been largely erased from the art historical canon.  The show reveals the multiple links between different practitioners of the time, highlighting the importance of those interconnections and how they created such an immensely rich web of relationships and influences.

Looking again at avant garde practices

Resist: be modern (again) looks back at the revolutionary art, design, performative and written practices of these women of the 1920s and 1930s. Using the lens of contemporary art, theory and design, the exhibition highlights the importance and influence of these long-lost early avant garde practices into the present.  

A selection of international contemporary artists reactivate and represent these early practices through mapping, transcribing, sampling, referencing, reciting, re-telling or re-making, reclaiming their lasting value and importance for today’s art world and beyond.
Resist: be modern (again) showcases collaborations between women who, due to their gender, sexuality or ethnicity, have been censored out, devalued or marginalised over time.

New works by contemporary artists respond to these ideas, drawing upon both specific historic individuals and the wider cultural and historical context surrounding the development of Modernism during the early twentieth century.  The artists use a range of media, including photography, film, installation, drawing, textile and sculpture.  They reintroduce specific individual practitioners as well as highlighting the ongoing importance and significance of their pioneering works.

The exhibition re-examines these important legacies and shows us how we can learn from an overlooked past outside of a mainstream standard in order to navigate our own complex present.

Resist: be modern (again) is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition, with financial support from Arts Council England, Middlesex University, and the Arts & Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria.

Resist: be modern (again) opens on 25th May and continues until 17th August 2019.


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