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Explore how modern British art was revolutionised after the Second World War, paving the way for hopeful new perspectives and amplified voices from around the world.

Following the devastation of the Second World War, Britain was emerging from years of conflict into an entirely new world. Everything was uncertain and the aftershocks remained, but people were hopeful and looking forward to transformative future. This gave rise to an incredible richness of imagery, forms and materials in the years that followed, as artists adapted to a changing society. Themes such as private relationships, the body, post-atomic condition and the Blitzed streetscape began to pop up regularly in the work of many artists – a powerful metaphor for a country trying to recover whilst still haunted by the tragedies of the past.

The exhibition includes around 200 works in a range of mediums, from painting and sculpture to collage and installation, and demonstrates the revolutionary new perspective sweeping through the art world following the war. There is also a strong focus on artists who came to Britain as refugees fleeing Nazism, as well as migrant artists from across the crumbling empire.

PhotographyPaintingPrints & drawingsSculptureModern artLondon


Barbican Art Gallery

Level 3, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, Greater London, EC2Y 8DS

020 7638 8891

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Opening times

Art gallery & gallery shop:
Mon-Fri 11am-7pm.
Sat-Sun 10am-7pm.

Last entry 30 minutes before closing.

The Curve:
Mon-Fri 12-7pm.
Sat-Sun 11am-7pm.

Please see website for full opening times.

Bank Holidays 12–6pm (Sat–Wed) 12–9pm (Thu & Fri) Closed 24-28 Dec and 1 Jan

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