I had a good expectation for “The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World” Exhibition (June 14 – September 4) at Tate Britain before visiting it, though I didn’t know anything about it, but just seeing the poster and its subtitle of “manifesto for a modern world” – I thought it was something dynamic, full of energy and modernistic.
Vorticism was a short-lived modernist movement in art and poetry, based in London in the early 20th century. In 1914, the Vorticists was formed to work closely together to promote the avant-garde style that they had formulated. They published two issues of the literary magazine ‘Blast‘ and had one exhibition in London in 1915, but the movement broke up largely due to the onset of World War I. Focusing on the only two Vorticist exhibitions, held in London and New York, this exhibition brings together over 100 key works, including photography and literary ephemera, as well as influential pieces by Wyndham Lewis, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (photos of the exhibiton).
Grew out of Cubism but more closely related to Futurism, it is said that the Vorticists’ style is a combination of machine-age forms and energetic imagery, with an array of bold lines and harsh colours. It may be a drastic change from the previous Edwardian period, but I didn’t feel the same dynamism and ambition of Futurism and sophistication of Cubism from their works, and it was not hot or not cold. Maybe they didn’t have time to grow their style into perfection.