Arts & Entertainment


The emergence of Dada towards the end of the First World War represents for many the birth of modern art. The 50 odd years of labour leading up to this point however, were seminal, heralding a shift from subject, realism and narrative to abstraction and experimentation. Paths to Abstraction, currently showing at the AGNSW, is a veritable timeline of this process, from Whistler’s Nocturnes of the late 1800s to the very early conceptions of Dada during WW1, such as Duchamp’s famed bicycle wheel. The paintings, drawings and prints on display number over 150, representing some of the most significant works from almost 60 collections worldwide. The result is overwhelming, guiding you chronologically through Impressionism, the Nabis, Fauvism, Cubism and Dada, to name a few. The works showcase truly sublime experimentation in colour, form, lyricism triumphing over realism, movement replacing narrative, surface eclipsing subject. Featuring pieces by Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, Derain, Braque, Klee, Picabia, Arp and Duchamp (and that’s only scratching the surface), Paths to Abstraction offers both the perfect introduction to the roots of modern art, and a rare opportunity for art lovers to see some of the most significant and (in)famous works of our time. A must see.

Until Sept 19, Art Gallery of NSW, $15-20, 9225 1700,

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