This Is Today

London Exhibition celebrating British Futurists

Monday 29th February 2016

There's still time to see This Is Today, an exhibition running until 6th March (2016) at London's Gazelli Art House which celebrates the influence of a group of artists working and living in Britain during the 1950’s and tracing the developments in their work into the 1960s and 1970s, challenging the dominant highbrow modernist culture, with the aim of making it more inclusive of popular culture.

The exhibition marks the 60th anniversary of This is Tomorrow, an exhibition held at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956, which presented the Independent Group (IG) amongst its exhibitors. Prominent IG founder members, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Magda Cordell McHale have pieces included in This Is Today.

Other notable members of IG included Richard Hamilton, well known for his iconic collage 'Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?' which was produced for the exhibition. The collage which famously juxtaposed glamorous photos cut out from American magazines with advertising imagery for items that included Hoover's then latest vacuum cleaner, Ford Cars and canned ham. The group's employment of this found object aesthetic is seen by many as a key forerunner of the Pop Art movement, that would become a dominant theme in the UK and US for the years that followed.

The IG based themselves at the Institute of Contemporary Art from 1952 to 1955 which was at that time located on Dover Street (the current Dover Street Market - situated very near Gazelli Art House's current location). 

Formed in the 1960s, Archigram were one of the groups influenced by IG's ethic. A group of hypothetical architects, Archigram set out to update modernist ideals, embracing the technology and aesthetics of the new consumer driven West and its popular culture. Their work is cited by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano as an inspiration for their iconic 'Pompidou Centre' in Paris.

Archigram Archives
White Painting Plug-in City University
Node, Elevation
Digital scan 64,000 x 22,000 pixels approx.
Peter Cook, © Archigram 1965

John Plumb studied at The Luton School of Art where one of his tutors was IG member William Turnbull. Plumb's time with Turnbull is considered to have been a lasting influence on Plumb, introducing him to that period's movements in continental contemporary modernism and modern art from America. Most of John Plumb's work rejected the figurative in favour of systematically structured abstract elements.

John Plumb
PVA and vinyl tape on board
190.5 x 128.7 x 6.3 cm
©John Plumb, Courtesy Gazelli Art House

Gazelli House has had a presence on London's Dover Street since 2012 including its innovative Window Project which utilises the frontage of the gallery as an additional display area. A further innovation in 2015 now sees this space solely used to display the work of art shcool graduates, chosen by means of a competition three times a year, demonstrating Gazelli Art House's commitment to art education.

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