Breakin' Up is Hard to Do puts abstract art in the spotlight

Exhibition from co-curators George Vasey and Ned McConnellin explores how artwork is ever-changing

Breakin' Up is Hard to Do and art is ever-changing

Six artists are included in the show

It is 100 years since Kazimir Malevich painted his famous Black Square, often celebrated as one of the first entirely abstract paintings. In the following century, abstract art has grown and changed in unprecedented ways. Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do is brought together by co-curators George Vasey and Ned McConnellin's response to the centenary of Malevich’s once radical artwork, which is now riddled with cracks and imperfections.

Vasey explains: ‘We were interested in the fact that the abstract painting is literally cracking up, which for us could be read as a metaphor for a sort of biography – that there is no finite or finished artwork, everything is always degrading and changing.’ The title makes a mock reference to the ‘breaking up’ of Malevich’s surface by quoting Neil Sedaka’s 1962 hit single.

All six artists included in the show, Nicolas Deshayes, Alex Dordoy, Patrick Hough, Rosalind McLachlan, Philomene Pirecki and Marie Toseland, take the language of abstraction as a starting point, creating paintings and sculptures that include narrative or digital elements. They disrupt the supposed purity of abstraction, which for Vasey was always a contentious issue: ‘There is no such thing as an absolute abstraction, everything has a narrative attached to it.’

The project is co-commissioned by KARST, Plymouth and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and will travel to Sunderland in autumn 2015.

KARST, Plymouth, Fri 13 Feb – Sun 22 March

Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do

Lifting its name from Neil Sedaka's 1962 doo-wop smash hit Breakin' Up is Hard to Do, the exhibition explores the physical and social instability of objects and materials.


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