Rough poetry

Installation shot Postwar Modern at Barbican showing Smithsons' House of the Future 1

Source: Elizabeth Hopkirk

An extraordinary period of creative flourishing was forged in the crucible of postwar trauma, writes Jane Alison, curator of a new exhibition opening today, the Barbican’s 40th birthday

The Barbican Estate by Chamberlin, Powell & Bon (CP&B) says more about postwar anxiety and uncertainty than pre-war Corbusian-inflected utopianism. What is clear, however, is that it has withstood the test of time, coming into its own as a monumental triumph of postwar urban design and place-making. Making exhibitions in its muscular spaces has always been a pleasure and hugely rewarding – setting our exhibitions apart from others across London.

Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain, 1945-1965, was initiated to coincide with Barbican Centre’s 40th anniversary. Three years in the making, it is an ambitious and timely reassessment of art produced in a period shaped by both the shadow of the war and the promise of the future.

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