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TheNewRealism_Leger - I ‘ The New Realism" “Hung...

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Unformatted text preview: I ‘ The New Realism" “Hung: IIIL' prl li||\ \umx‘ 11w L'nlilc L'Il'ml ul :Iili‘él‘i h:|\' L'UIHix‘lL‘LI 01 :I \Illl![!'_]{'1ll IIL'L' lln'lnwlu‘x‘ llum L'rrluin UM lmmlx‘. In p.1il1llll}; llu- \Ilungzcxl mun-lint hm: I1L‘L'JI Illnl nl \‘IIIIjL‘L‘I 1|1:|11L‘I 1|l1l‘HL'l‘IIII1I‘\i1II‘I'I_ iIIIIm-4u|h_\'lin.' I1:1|i:m RL‘IIHiQx‘uHLI'. Ihix L'Hl‘ll luwunl lu-mlum Iwgun will: lhc Ilnprcwiunixl‘; :Ilul hm; L'unlinucd 1n c‘quvx‘x :Ixcll lln1i| Ulll' Lm'n (1m. mm- Imlrh- n umrh lulhrwinu. worth living \[llllik‘ll :md L‘luwh ulm‘nwL [m il IN ;1|\\.|\\ \x‘n L'unlrnlpm:u\'. II is :1 kitul u! Im‘ulutinn lllll’Ulllll' “l-llxn'lllu'nc'rx 1hr h‘rling: Il-I lln' whim-l I‘- \\ifh l‘\[ll'lllr'|\ in \\0!k\‘ ul’ Hun: hiull [wt-limb: ul 'I-gwpr :Illc:u|\ in lulmllnc [Humm- rinn. Awniul. (inn-3x. Runmn. :md (iulhic :Irl. Thu mudch an: guing 1n delulw i1. imlnlr ll. ill'lLl L'\ll'.'ICl L‘wn' pusxilwlc rrwll Imm i1. .‘\||v:-_i.ms.‘v tn llw \Ill‘it‘L'l ix nu lumu‘l hunulul. 'lhc hunu'uu-Ik Ilmt klt1||1l1l;lll“i ll“ RL'II:Ii\\:IIIL‘L‘ .‘III 11:“ hL‘L‘II .NIIHHL‘IL‘tL'I llu- Impu-inunixh Hum] L'l'IILH' u'u have curried 11luil‘ all-:1an I'm- wnul :InLl hnvu lu‘cd Inr'm um! LlL‘Kigl'l, SulfiL-L‘l nmllc: 111:ng :tl iux't lelu IN: “'0 :u'r: ITL‘L'. In IUIU IhL‘ p.1in1ins: Hu- Ir-wu (In l'iHc-l wnx' cxvuulml in pluc color. [I u‘cullml. :I IL-L'lnn- llL‘li\'(‘{k‘t[ l1}; ligcr :11 lllc Mun-mum ul' HH\ L“\§|\ ix lum‘d un in Mmh‘rn AH. NU“ \nrk. PM” of UN: Iccllllc umwmml in .41: I'm”: 1‘HI-i'. \L‘L'tulnx .Illprulim: in l‘lilk'LL‘|\ urn: LIIHHI'I hum lhc unplIMixllcd lu'mh Irv I LI 2 III) ,' l-ltNt‘l‘lt)N.‘l ()Fl'AlN'l'lNU according to qualified writers on art. itt tlte birth ot a uorld-uidc publicity. 'l h treedom espresses itsell' ceaselessly in every sense. II. t.\.- therefore. possible to assert the following: that eotor has a reality in itself. a life of its own: that a geometric t'orm has also a reality in itself. independent and plastic. Hence composed Works of art are known as "abstract." with these two values reunited. l'ltey are not "abstract." since they are composed of real values: colors and geometric forms. There is no abstraction. lln-this new phase. compositional freedom heeomes unlimited. A total ‘trecdom. permittng compositions from the unauination in which creatise fantasy can emerge and develop. This object. which unis en- cased in the sir/tier: matter. becomes free; pure color that could not be .tssetted independently is going to emetge. It becomes the Inn/{rte . fuum‘li'r m the new pictorial uorLs.l I Subject matter being destroyed. it Was natural that the problem ot the movie scenario should be taken up ttc.\t. 'l‘wo art liltus were com pleted betueen [9:3 and t924. The Halli-r ittt‘unuqm- and t-Jm‘m-rc. breedom was achieved in every realm——the J'l'm't'el filler-unique set out to prove that it was possible to find a new life on the screen without a scenario. through making use of simple objects. fragments of ohjeets~ ol a mechanical element, of rhythmic repetitions copied from certain objects of a commonplace nature and "artistic" m the least possible degree. Montage is purposeful contrast through slow motion and speeds up. It aims to \voIL out in the :tutvies an interest III the Isolated obit-ct on the screen. as well as in painting. tin-tr'm‘re likewise expresses the Will toward freedom. lt is the es- presston ot' the Dada era. The desire to llatten out cvervtliine that is solemn. respectable. too much takenvt‘or-granted. too indisputable—and thus to open the door to the frees‘t fantasy. These two films are a landmark in the history of plastic revolutions. th'IIS analysis of the isolated object can go beyond simple artistic and pictorial relations. I should ntaintain. for esample. that. from the dra- matic viewpoint. a single hand which slowly appears on the screen and reaches toward .i revolver is more dratuatic than it one beholds' the “hole actor. The New Realism / t It (A foot in a shoe. under a table. projected and magnified ten times. becomes a surprising fact that you have never noticed before. It takes on a reality. a new reality that does not exist when you look at the hack of your leg unconsciously while you are walking or sitting. An isolated cloud. alone in the blue depths of the sky. often has a pattern and reliet‘ of a richness that you might not discover when it is part of the landscape. Scientific research also has enabled artists to isolate this new reality. Underwater plants. infinitely tiny animals. a drop of water with its microbes magnified a thousand times by the microscope, can become new pictorial possibilities or permit a development in decora- tive art. [One then understands that everything is of equal 'interest. that the human face or the human body is of no weightier plastic interest than a tree. a plant. a piece of rock. or a pile of rope. ll is enough to compose a picture with these objects. being careful to choose those that may best create a composition. It is .‘I question of clmicc on the artist's part. An esample: il'l compose a picture and use as an object a piece 0f tree bark. a fragment of a hutterlly's wing. and also a purely imaginary form. it is likely that you will not recognize the tree bark or the butterfly wing. and you will ask "What does that represent?" Is it an abstract picture? No. it is a representational picture. What we call an abstract picture does not exist. There is neither an abstract picture nor a concrete one. There is a beautiful picture and a had picture. There is the picture that moves you and the one that leaves you indif- ferent. A picture can never be judged in comparison to more or less natural elements. A picture has a value in itself. like a musical score. like a poem. Reality is infinite and richly vaticd. What is reality? Whetc does it begin'.J Or end'.’ How much of it should exist in paintiug'.Jl Impos- sible to answer.l. A bandva leaf—a revolver—a mouth an eyefithesc are "ob- jects.“ The sentiment of beauty is completely independent of our compre- hensive laculties—emotion. admiration. belong to the realm of sensi- bility. “What does that represent?" has no meaning. For example: With a brutal lighting of the finger-nail of a woman—a modern finger-nail. well-manicured. very brilliant. shitting—l make a metric on a very large ll? / FUNCTIUNSUFI'AIN'IING scale. 1 project it enlarged an huudrcdl'old. and I call itW'T-‘ragment of :1 Planet. Photographed in January. I934." Everybody :tdtnit'es my planet. Or I call it "abstract form." Everybody either admires it or criticizes it. Finally I tell the truth—what you ltave just seen is the nail o!" the little linger of the woman sitting next to you. Naturally the attdience leaves. vexed and dissatisfied. because of having been tooled. but I am sure that hereafter those people Won‘t ask any more of me and won‘t repeat that ridiculous question: "What does that represent?" There was never any question in plastic art. in poetry. in music. of representing anything. It is a matter of making something bCautit'ul. moving. or dramatieithis is by no means the same thing. If I isolate a tree in a landseape. if I approach that tree. [ see that its bark has an interesting design and a plastic form; that its luauchcs ltave dynamic violence which ought to be observed; that its leaves are decorative. Loeked up in “subject matter." these elements are not "set in value." It is here that the “new realism" finds itself. and also behind scientific microscopes. behind astronomical research which brings us every day new forms that we can use in the movies and in our paintings. lOne does not explain art. It is in the domain of tire sensibility. which can and must be developed. I had an opportunity to talk With the French doctor l’errin. and he told me: "For us, too. Ho percent of our scientific discoveries come from the realm of pure sensibility." Deductive logic is cold attd has never given us anything other tltan solclutt and academic professors. ll-Zdueation is possible. It exists. There is proof of that in the evolu- tion of modern decorative art. The merchants and the matutl‘acturcts felt that this famous object ltad advertising value. They arranged win- dow displays showing the objects of their trade in their most favorable light—5 pairs of stockings set on a colored backdrop made more of an effect than zoo pairs piled up on top of each other. 'I be whole colu- mercial world understood: they use the mix-em of the nflfr‘r't,l The commonplace objects. those of the Bum-r i‘r’hfi'rmiqm‘. nbiccls turrth out in a series. are often more beautiful in proportion than many things called beautiful and given a badge of honor. It is also "new realism" to know how to employ in decorations raw materials such as marble. steel, glass. copper. etc. . -fi ---—.—.——_.___r__.____._-—._,_.__.___ 'I'fn"Ni'tt' Realism ,’ t I} At this point. 1 cannot refrain from commenting ttpon two recent feats which possess considerable importance as modern creations. 1 mean "a French lent. the steamship Nurumndic. and an American feat. Radio t‘ity. 'l'he Nurnmmfie. unfortunately. fails to fulfil our hopes from the viewpoint of interior decoration. It is a retrograde conception which belongs somewhere between the taste of the eighteenth century and the taste of tour). [It seems a shame to have to say this in front of an American audience. but| tlte French. who have a heavy artistic tradition behind them. often make such errors. They forget that they constructed the Billet Tower fifty years ago—and that's just too bad”.I Naturally. it's always easier to look backward. to imitate what is already done. than to create something new. Radio ('ity. on the other hand. is the true espressionof modern America. Apart lrom certain decorations which. to my mind. are not architectural. the rest is absolutely perfect. The raw materials I spoke of above are used there with a great deal of talent and appropriateness. The steel door is very much in place in a marble frame. i America knows how to make things luxurious while making them simple. And it is a social lusuriousness. lnsury through which crowds circulate. It was necessary to discover that—and it has been done. To create luxury by means of complication and piled-up decoration. that is all old art. To create luxury with simplicity. that is the ruodern problem. and Radio t 'ity has solved it. t‘olor. being a new powerful reality. ought to be kept “under slllt'cils lance." whenever it cotncs in contact with architecture. It ought not to overflow nor cncmach upon the walls. as in the case of the monuments of the Italian fifteenth century. The architect ought to defend himself against the painter who has too great a tendency to “slap it on thick." Unce these conditions can be taken for granted. it Ought to be possible to achieve the ttnity of three arts: architecture. painting. and sculpture. We shall see some day. l trope. vast modern monuments that will stand as the Acropolcs of tomorrow. zlr! t'"r'ortt. New ‘I’Ut‘k. 1035 ['l'ranslated by Harold Rosenberg. unpublished in France] ...
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