Thursday, December 4, 2008

When the Grosvenor school becomes the movement

Here come the 30s. And here comes London as you've never seen it before. A city of speed, of rhythm and machine patterned life. Welcome to the repetitive majesty and urban dynamism of London encapsulated in 4 colors. It all started with Claude Flight who was a teacher at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in the late twenties. Together with his pupils, who included Cyril Power, Lill Tschudi, Eileen Mayo and Sybil Andrews, he transposed Marinetti's Italian futurism (without subscribing to the Italian movement's military undertones) to its English equivalent.

A new age was dawning and there was a necessity to artistically express the accelerated pace of modern life as exemplified by the dynamism of machines and the sheer exhilaration of automated speed and motion. A simple medium, cheap to produce and therefore more accessible to the general public, was chosen. The linocut. With themes taken from everyday city life such as transport, architecture, leisure and sports, the linocuts of the Grosvenor school artists are vivid and exciting examples of how graphically one can capture the modernity element of an evolving society.

They were representative of the times but even today they stand as perfectly valid depictions of a world in constant motion. In fact, when one mentions the Grosvenor School of Modern Art today, he does not only refer to the school as such but to the movement.

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