The Centre Pompidou is devoting a new exhibition to the UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes – Union of Modern Artists), one of the widest-reaching movements in the history of 20th century art.
Bringing together architects, painters, sculptors, furniture designers, photographers, textile and jewellery designers, bookbinders, graphic artists and poster artists, this key movement in European modernism – a French-style «Bauhaus»– helped to make paris a world capital of the avant-garde.
Although never as famous as the Bauhaus School or the De Stijl group, the UAM unquestionably embodied french modernity in the 20th century. It united all the leading creators known and recognised today, and, through a new, unequalled approach, combined artistic disciplines and spheres that had never been as resolutely amalgamated before.
The association’s aim was to propose a new lifestyle and share it with a broad range of people. It was conceived as a weapon to attack the prevailing conservatism of the time. It had its ups and downs, suffered from the economic crisis, experienced a return to «stylistic» order at the same time as the rise of fascism, hoped for better days with the arrival of the front Populaire, and survived the second World War through the exile, concealment and resistance of its members. It believed its moment had come with France’s reconstruction, then had to abandon the field, and was finally dissolved.
The exhibition narrates its story through collective and individual works, pinpointing the French origins of this ideal where all the arts mingled and influenced each other.
The UAM was officially founded on 15 May 1929. its members were men and a few women with a shared past : colleagues, friends and partners. They were figures with powerful personalities and a deep commitment to creation.