Tate Modern presents Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art

EXAMINING the role photography plays in the development of Abstraction, the upcoming Tate Modern exhibition Shape of Light explores the relationship between digital innovation and abstract art, featuring images shot from 1910 film cameras to photos from the current era. The notion of putting photography into the context of abstraction challenges art disciplines and creates an interesting new dialogue between the works.

Aleksandr Rodchenko,  Radio Tower Station c.1929

Guy Bourdin, Untitled c.1950s

El Lissitzky – Proun in Material c.1924

Wyndham Lewis, Workshop c.1914-5

The show will highlight moments of innovation in the history of photography, exploring the new techniques created by some of the pioneers of abstract art. Presenting over 300 works by more than 100 artists, the exhibition will delve into the history of abstract photography alongside iconic paintings and sculptures.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Fotogramm c.1925

Moholy-Nagy, K VII, 1922

Jackson Pollock – Number 23 c.1948James Welling, ZEPES c.1986

Featuring works by Alvin Langdon Coburn, British photographer of the late 19th century who set out to explore the potential of modern art through the lens of a camera; who eventually became the first artist to create abstract images with the camera.

His famous series, Vortographs, was created through an instrument Coburn constructed. The tool consisted of mirrors clamped together and fitted over a camera lens. Only 18 Vortographs were made, all taken across the period of a month- yet they remain one of the most visionary images in the history of photography.

Barbara Kasten, Photogenic Painting. Untitled c.1974 Jacques Villeglé. Jazzmen c.1926  Otto Steinert. The Luminogram II c.1952

Imogen Cunningham. Triangles c.1928

Amongst the works displayed will include photographs by Floris Neussis and Gottfried Jaeger, Bridget Riley’s distinct geometric paintings as well as a major painting by Surrealist artist Joan Miró.

by Faye Leung 

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

The exhibition will run from May 2 to October 14.

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