The Berardo Collection draws a path through twentieth century art to the art of today, via its most significant movements and protagonists. On this floor, a walk through modern art, beginning at the outset of the twentieth century with the work of Picasso and the invention of cubism on the one hand, and Duchamp and the questions posed by the ready-made on the other. The rapid and vertiginous succession of vanguards that introduced new concepts of space may be followed in the sections devoted to dadaism, constructivism, neo-plasticism, surrealism and Abstraction-Création. Here we see a proliferation of different positions that brought about a radical change in the way we think about a work of art, its nature and function.

The movements that emerged after World War II are represented by informalism, abstract expressionism, the New School of Paris, kinetic art, Group Zero, spatialism, different positions in relation to figuration and colour field painting. These movements had as points of departure the concepts of the earlier vanguards, turning abstraction into the artistic lingua franca of the new world order, despite anti-modernist opposition, and despite the growing institutionalisation of art. The latter unhooked art from the intimate relation it had enjoyed with life in the utopian projects of the initial vanguards.

The emergence of neo-dadaism, Nouveau Réalisme and pop art came to enable a rediscovery, in Duchamp’s gesture and in the invention of the ready-made – as meaning became a singular event not ruled by reason – a fragmented subject amidst the world’s traces, tendentially hostage to a subjectivity of consumption.