ALBERT TUCKER: IMAGES OF MODERN EVIL

Heide Museum of Modern Art presents Albert Tucker’s Images of Modern Evil, exhibiting in Heide III from 19 March-26 June.

Art Exhibition previously on at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria, Australia.
From Saturday 19 March 2011 to Sunday 26 June 2011

Image of Modern Evil 29 1946, Melbourne image Image of Modern Evil: Paris Night 1948 image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 29 March 2011.
Contact the publisher.

Developed in Melbourne at the height of World War II, the series is a body of work of resounding innovation that was to secure and characterise the artist’s artistic reputation, and help signal a new era in Australian art. They stand as a milestone in the evolution of a home-grown, vernacular Australian modernism.

Though not initially conceived as a finite group, unlike Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly suite, there are several distinguishing features. A female figure appears in each work—in many cases a hybridised ‘protoplasmic’ figure, as Tucker called it—with the body reduced to its raw and sexualised elements. The paintings are all set at night, and Tucker’s now iconic and omnipresent leitmotif, the crescent shape, is used to represent the simplified, exaggerated smiling lips of the artist’s subjects. It provides a focus for each work and functions as a connecting element between them.

While the series has come to dominate discussions of Tucker’s artistic contributions, it failed to attract critical or popular success during the 1940s. This exhibition aims to investigate the reception the series received, consider Tucker’s contemporaneous and retrospective ruminations on it, and reassess the subsequent notoriety of the Images of Modern Evil, drawing on relevant correspondence, interviews, photographs and related archive material.

Tucker kept Images of Modern Evil series together for more than thirty years, before 28 of the 40 constituent works were acquired for the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. This will be the first time that all locatable works in the series have been displayed together.