Art in the twentieth century is a story about people trying to represent the world and connect with each other in the face of unprecedented change.
The period up to the beginning of the 20th century saw Einstein, Darwin, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, The Industrial Revolution, Electronic Communication, Steam Engines all rearrange our concepts of space, time and our place within them both.
Artists struggled to make sense of this world and depict its turmoil – to get closer to the truth by stripping back layers of artifice.
The more we stripped things away the more we realised that there was always a process of abstraction between us and the world and between us an each other. Painting was an impression, words had a life of their own, my perception of the world (in fact – the world itself) might be fundamentally different from yours.
We increasingly realised that Art was never about depiction of some divine, inspired, or universal truth. It was about exploring the potential for an abstraction, technique or technology to inspire new ways of feeling or thinking. Multiplying those ways of thinking-feeling was the best way to approach some form or connection with each other and with the world.
-Perhaps art realised it was about generating possibilities rather than approaching something true.
-Perhaps Art was about inventing machines for thinking and feeling