Force Fields. An essay on the kinetic offered a transversal journey through art history in the period spanning from 1920 to 1970, with a focus on projects that approached artistic creation as a possible model of the universe. Matter, energy and space became key aesthetic concerns for a series of artists who used abstract parameters as a base from which to explore the continuities between opposites such as macrocosm and microcosm, universe and mind, matter and void, inner space and outer space.

The theme of the exhibition was encapsulated in works from the twenties by Marcel Duchamp, Naum Gabo and László Moholy-Nagy, Alexander Calder’s mobiles from the thirties, and the works that Georges Vantongerloo produced from 1945 until his death.
A chronological or historiographic approach was rejected in favour of a structure based on new narratives that revolved around “the kinetic”. Countering the United States art scene dominated by the influence of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Pop Art, the exhibition assembled a series of artists who shared an interest in exploring the language of movement. It also suggested revealing connections among groups of works that have historically been considered to be in conflict with each other, such as Concrete Art and Informalism in the fifties.

This exhibition proposed a new reading of the art produced between 1920 and 1970, approximately. Taking the first mobiles by Alexander Calder and the work created by Georges Vantongerloo after 1945 as its thematic key, the show traced an ongoing concern with art as a possible model of the universe. Keeping within the parameters of the "abstract" or the non-representational, it set out to follow a strong yet concealed line of development in 20th-century art: art as a process of speculation about the foundations of matter and the cosmos, metaphors of space and time, traces of energy, the transformation of matter, aesthetic structures paralleling those of nature, meditations on flux and the void, new ways of understanding the body in space and space in the body, etc.


13 JUNE - 17 SEP. 2000 Hayward Gallery, London