Worksheet 8 - Worksheet eight In the late 1920s the Spanish...

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Worksheet eight In the late 1920s, the Spanish painter Juan Miro (perhaps ‘artist’ would be a better word, certainly he would have preferred it) declared that his intention was to " assassiner la peinture " ("to kill painting"). Many of the works he produced after 1927, some of the most beautiful and exciting in the twentieth century, were collages on flat surfaces which were not canvas (instead wood, paper or cardboard) and consisted of found objects of different kinds, some in tatters (pieces of newsprint, a torn photograph, lines from a magazine) and some obscured (by overlappings of paint or other objects glued to it and to the adjacent surface,) whose relations were obscure and were in turn added to by words either written or found and of varying dimensions. Miro’s immediate debt was to Cubism and Picasso (the decomposition of space, plural perspectives, the fragmetnation of objects, the introduction of ‘real’ material onto the painted surface); his own influence is evident in the calligraphic scribbles of Cy Twombly, its play with hieroglyphics and therefore with the boundaries between writing and painting, meaning and figuration and also in the Combines and installation pieces of Robert Rauschenberg (which brought togethera flotsam and jetsam of not only found objects, but debris, some of it animated, flourescent light, machinery). Rauschenberg and Miro also owed a debt to Surrealism and Dada. Twombly and Rauschenberg are both American artists. What did it mean in the early part of the last century "to kill painting"? It meant to decompose composition, put together found objects rather than to ‘create’ a world, create confrontations and contradictions, compromise notions of the artist, creativity, originality, emphasise the moment of making (as with Jackson Pollock and American Abstract Expressionism) rather than making being an illustration of something else (a scene, a portrait, objects, still lives, landscapes, drama, history, theatre). Thus, it was as if the intent to kill painting brought it back to life, enabled it to become painting in itself, an object (along with and no more than the objects attached to it and juxtaposed by it), and not as an illustration or representation of something else. The impulse to stress the moments and processes of the work brought time into the work not as representation (a scene of history, of daily life, of the sacred) but as a condition of the work, hence the fragmentations, hence the rejection of illusory continuities. It was similarly the case with space: glued paper scraps, theatre tickets, pieces of wood, bits of metal, or attached found objects (toys, feathers) on the surface of the work not only gave it materiality, but a third dimension (not only were dimensional blurred but the difference between painting and sculpture, illusion and reality) and all the more so because what was ‘in’ the work was also exterior to it either physically or by reference or by both since the collage consisted
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This note was uploaded on 09/23/2011 for the course FIL 3363C taught by Professor Samrohdie during the Fall '09 term at University of Central Florida.

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Worksheet 8 - Worksheet eight In the late 1920s the Spanish...

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