Modernism Has Two Faces (2011)
Curated by Sarah Staton. Modernism Has Two Faces, explores the two sides to modernism, its two different kinds of visual grammar.
One is sleek, frictionless and inhuman; it is a look redolent of the production line, aerodynamic and unvarying, with the potential to be infinitely reproducible. The other is its near opposite: post-industrial, grainy and irregular; its technologies are the hand loom and the potter’s wheel. Both order and human fallibility are equally prominent in the geometry of a homespun rug or hand carved stool. In the cross-fertilization of the applied and fine arts each benefits from the influence of the other, and neither asserts itself as the senior partner.
Within the historic collection of Mount Stuart an exhibition of works by contemporary artists Eva Berendes, Simon Bill, Enrico David, Karin Ruggaber and Sarah Staton is installed for the summer months.
As a setting for contemporary art Mount Stuart stands in polar opposition to the tabula rasa of the white cube. The contemporary works within Mount Stuart cannot confront this Victorian self-confidence, but set an aspect of the rich legacy of 20th century modernism in subtle counterpoint to it, with works characterized by an inflected symmetry, fragile surfaces and a quiet sense of order.