In 1912 the Italian poet Marinetti predicted that all art would become abstract, a statement that caused uproar when he presented his Futurist manifesto to his audience in Paris. For many, it was enough to deal with the Impressionists’ experiments with light and colour, or the Expressionists’ insistence on emotion in art.
New Zealand expatriate artist Frances Hodgkins was present when Marinetti’s manifesto was delivered, and as she reported afterwards on a return visit to the Antipodes, while it was stirring to hear his proclamations, she didn’t believe she would ever give up drawing from life.
Yet by the 1930s many artists in Europe had moved towards various kinds of abstraction. Game Changers begins with examples of modernist forms of art that developed in Europe in the latter part of the 19th-century, and ends with New Zealand artists who embraced abstraction in turn.