Worksheet 5 - Worksheet five In the late 1920s, the Spanish...

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Worksheet five 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 composed on flat surfaces, not of canvas, but instead wood, paper or cardboard that 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 fragmentation 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, by flourescent light or elaborate yet complex machinery, electrical or aquatic ). Rauschenberg and Miro also owed a debt to Surrealism and Dada. Twombly and Rauschenberg are both American artists but in a European tradition. Art has no national boundaries. 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 "create’ a world, compose 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 becoming 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
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Worksheet 5 - Worksheet five In the late 1920s, the Spanish...

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