Although the problem of depicting movement in painting and sculpture had concerned artists for many centuries, the birth of the Futurist movement in 1909 signalled a renewed interest in the subject. Taking as its starting point the Estorick's own collection of Futurist masterpieces, On the Move drew on a wide range of material in many different media to provide an in-depth examination of this complex and fascinating theme.
Many of Futurism's pictorial innovations were in fact built on foundations laid during the nineteenth century, when the emerging medium of photography began to reveal previously unseen aspects of reality. The pioneering research of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey was of particular importance in this respect. While Muybridge's iconic studies of animal and human locomotion represented the successive stages of movement in individual frames, Marey captured them on a single photographic plate, creating trailing images of motion that were not only of great scientific interest, but which have informed almost all subsequent analytical representations of movement, from the rhythmical paintings of Giacomo Balla to the famous ‘stroboscopic’ photography of Harold Edgerton and Gjon Mili in the twentieth century.
Occupying a position on the cusp of the arts and sciences, this subject has long been of fascination to the exhibition's curator, Jonathan Miller. From equestrian paintings of the eighteenth century, to contemporary experiments with longexposure photography and CAD modelling, this personal selection of works illustrated the full range of artists' resourcefulness in tackling this most intriguing and elusive of subjects.