An exciting new exhibition on the artwork of Fernand Léger named New Times, New Pleasures is on display at Tate Liverpool until 17th March 2019, alongside Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho’s News from Nowhere.
Léger’s work includes a diverse collection of abstract and figurative paintings, drawings, films, graphic designs, books, textiles and a large-scale mural. His style, described as a ‘unique visual style that powerfully captured the intense experience and energy of the 1910s Parisian metropolis’ was influenced by both his previous architectural training and the continual industrial growth of the early 20th century.
It is evident when walking through the exhibition that Léger’s work develops with the evolving world of industry; he starts to explore different mediums, becoming bolder and louder to reflect the ‘bustle and rhythm of modern life’. The influence of advertising becomes increasingly apparent in terms of neon signs, graphic, eye catching posters.
Léger often found beauty in the everyday, depicting seemingly simple, manufactured objects as abstract figures, symbolising industrial modernity in a new and profound way. Such ideas can be found in The Disc (1918) and The Bridge (1920), where his geometrically structured lines work alongside bold colours to display standard mechanical structures in an abstract yet recognisable way.
Léger’s political beliefs also make an appearance in a large number of his works, such as Essential Happiness, New Pleasures (1937-2011); a photo mural made in collaboration with Charlotte Perriand. This piece showcases his socialist ideals through the promotion of rural life in a time where totalitarianism was rising in Europe, particularly in his focal use of yellow and red.
This exhibition also presents the first display in the UK of South Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho. The exhibit showcases their new films Anomaly Strolls I, Alchemy of Golden Leaf and Anomaly Strolls II both produced in 2018, commissioned for the gallery in response to the city of Liverpool, alongside El Fin del Mundo from 2012. Inspired by Morris’ 1890 novel, a satirical comment on 19th century society combining science fiction and socialism, News From Nowhere asks ‘what is the social function and role of art in the contemporary world?’.
Landscape and location hold prominent importance within these films, with El Fin del Mundo taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, exploring the importance of art within it. Anomaly Strolls explores abandoned buildings, alleys and pubs and the discarded items within them amid an impending apocalypse.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the collection from Kyungwon and Joonho is the structures on which the monitors showing these films are mounted on. Each installation is made from salvaged and recycled materials, reflective of the discarded items accumulated within Anomaly Strolls and cultivating an apocalyptic feel to the exhibition.
Book tickets for Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures here.
Featured Image Credit: © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018. Photographic Archives Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia