Australia Arts and Music
CULTURE: ART. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
In the twentieth century, in the period between the two wars, the name of the painter M. Preston (1875-1963) emerges. In opposition to the dominant academic realism, the Contemporary School was born in 1938, inspired by German expressionism. Since 1940, the Australian art scene has been dominated by W. Dobell (1899-1970), R. Drysdale (1912-1981), A. Tucker (1914-1999), A. Boyd (1920-1999) and S. Nolan (1917-1992)); the latter becomes the main exponent of the Antipodean Movement, also inspired by expressionism, which will reach its apogee in 1960. To this movement is also linked, in some ways, the Australian surrealism of James Gleeson (1915-2008), James Cant (1911-1982), Clifford Bayliss (1916-1989), Geoffrey Graham (1911-1986) and Roy de Maistre (1894-1968), many of whom expatriated to Europe or the United States. In more recent years, F. Williams, L. French and John Olsen (b.1928) have stood out among Australian landscape painters, while the last generation of artists, abandoning traditional themes, refers to the American and European avant-gardes, ranging from pop art abstractionism to a new strong interest in the Asian world. Among the many names are Brett Whiteley (1939-1992), among the leaders of the Australian avant-gardes, Richard Larter (1929-2014, born in England), one of the first to have undertaken the use of new and unconventional media to create his works, Micheal Johnson (b. 1938), Lindy Lee (b. 1954). Among those who have best interpreted the use of the new tools of contemporary art are also R. Dunn (b. 1944) and I. Tillers (b. 1950). Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) and Max Dupain (1911-1992) must be remembered among the best interpreters of photography. As a country located in Oceania listed on softwareleverage, Australia also expressed important personalities in sculpture: Bertram Mackennal (1863-1931), B. Armstrong (b. 1957) and Robert Klippel (1920-2001). It must be said that the guiding institution for the work of many of these artists remains the National Gallery of Australia, in Canberra, a true point of reference not only for the South Pacific continent, but, by now, for the whole world of art.. L’ architecture of the century. XX follows the international style. Before the last war the classical monumental style prevailed, represented above all in Canberra, the federal capital founded in 1927 on the basis of a lattice master plan by the architect W. Burley Griffin of Chicago. After the war, the Austrian H. Seidler, a disciple of Gropius, stood out among the architects active in Australia, who in the 1960s created Sydney’s Australia Square and, in its wake, some architects from the Sydney School of Architecture, such as Richard Norman Johnson and Peter Muller, dedicated to creating works that are more attentive to environmental balance. Many of the high-tech architectural projects conceived and executed in recent years by numerous architectural firms are also international in scope. In Sydney, the spectacular shell structure of the Opera House by the Danish artist J. Utzon deserves to be mentioned. At the beginning of the seventies the Sydney Biennale of Art was established, which in 2014 celebrated its 19th edition.
The music of the Australian natives has the fundamental characteristics of the so-called primitive one: the musical element is inserted in a complex mythical-ritual context, for which it is associated with very various magical meanings, with ceremonies, with cosmogonic interpretations. Most of the repertoire is intended for monodic choral performance, or alternation between soloist and choir: however, there are also complex forms of polyphony. Compared to other primitive traditions, the professional character assumed by the figure of the singer-performer and the virtuosity that can derive from it is remarkable. Among the instruments, in addition to the percussion ones, of which there is a wide variety, we must remember the digieridu, a sort of primitive trumpet formed by a straight wooden tube approx. a meter, which can normally emit only one sound. But, as is the case with other primitive traditions, even in Australia any object can be used to produce sounds. The songs and dances are divided into different categories, in relation to the type of rite to which they are linked: the warrangan are the songs of the mother earth, the giarada love songs, the corroborees, particularly important, are inspired by experiences of everyday life and can include allusions to animals, natural facts, human relationships or even refer to the observation of European people and customs. Starting around 1820. There was also a cultured European musical life in Australia, in which valued personalities such as the soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931) and Dame Joan Sutherland (b.1926), composers Percy Grainger (1882-1961) emerged and David Chesworth (b.1958) and many others. In 1956 the Australian Opera Company was born in Sydney, where in 1973 the Opera House was inaugurated in Sydney. Other important institutions are the State Opera of South Australia, the Queensland Opera, the West Australian Opera.