15-Cubism-Abstraction - 015_Cubism_Abstraction READINGS...

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015_Cubism_Abstraction.doc READINGS: CUBISM AND ABSTRACTION Background: Apollinaire, On Painting Apollinaire, Various Poems Background: Magdalena Dabrowski, "Kandinsky: Compositions" Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art Background: Serial Music Background: Eugen Weber, CUBISM, Movements, Currents, Trends , p. 254. As part of the great campaign to break through to reality and express essentials, Paul Cezanne had developed a technique of painting in almost geometrical terms and concluded that the painter "must see in nature the cylinder, the sphere, the cone:" At the same time, the influence of African sculpture on a group of young painters and poets living in Montmartre - Picasso, Braque, Max Jacob, Apollinaire, Derain, and Andre Salmon - suggested the possibilities of simplification or schematization as a means of pointing out essential features at the expense of insignificant ones. Both Cezanne and the Africans indicated the possibility of abstracting certain qualities of the subject, using lines and planes for the purpose of emphasis. But if a subject could be analyzed into a series of significant features, it became possible (and this was the great discovery of Cubist painters) to leave the laws of perspective behind and rearrange these features in order to gain a fuller, more thorough, view of the subject. The painter could view the subject from all sides and attempt to present its various aspects all at the same time, just as they existed-simultaneously. We have here an attempt to capture yet another aspect of reality by fusing time and space in their representation as they are fused in life, but since the medium is still flat the Cubists introduced what they called a new dimension-movement. Very soon, however, the original purpose of this-the capture and more complete reproduction of still objective reality-was lost from sight. The possibilities of the new idea were too good to miss and soon the artist became more interested in what had started as his means: that is, in purer and purer geometrical forms with no immediate relation to the object from which they derived, and in their increasingly abstract and arbitrary arrangement. Cubism still sees space (and through space reality) as differentiated. Its great invention was to introduce movement into painting and use the possibilities of geometrical projection. But, in time, this came to appear still too concrete an approach to subjective reality and expression. As the Cubist technique was applied on ever more abstract lines, differentiation shrank and disappeared. Abstractionists see no more sections, no divisions between different segments of reality; and this is not surprising since reality has been transferred from the outside to the inside of the artist where experience is all one and everything exists on the same plane: a flower pot and a flower petal, a house and a T square, exist on the same plane, quite undifferentiated. Nothing is an island any longer, nothing (or everything) entire of itself. BACKGROUND: STE GROVEART.COM
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course HISTORY 106 taught by Professor Dennis during the Spring '11 term at Loyola Chicago.

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15-Cubism-Abstraction - 015_Cubism_Abstraction READINGS...

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