The central room in the wing is devoted to the abstract or ‘constructive’ art of the inter-war years. The artists associated with a range of groups embraced the possibilities of producing art that was, to different degrees, coolly geometrical and no longer imitative of visible reality. Aspiring to universal qualities, these artists set out a utopian ideal for art and society, which bound them to wider developments in design and architecture.

The surrounding displays show the impact of abstraction on a variety of media such as film and photography, as well as looking at the minimalist art of the 1960s, whose crisp, unadorned aesthetic echoed but also departed from the work of the 1920s and 1930s.