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Cubism Representation of Modernity-libre

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Cubism Representation of Modernity
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  1 Cubism, representation of modernity. Oe osideed it a ad aophoi, a seod osideed it a eitale atalys, ad a thid thought that the atist ould soo oit suiide. It ould oe to e ko as Les Deoiselles d’Aigo, idely credited as the first Cubist painting.  (Cowling. 2002 p. 160) cited by Sgourev. This quote beautifully defines how much of a shock the birth of cubism had on the traditional circles and art critics living in Paris at the beginning of the 20 th  century. Biggest breakthrough in art since the Renaissance (Golding), cubism did not transcend the art codes by chance. The addition of multiple factors played a consequent role in the creation of such a unique mode of expression, from the social and economic contexts to the srcin of the birth, the city of Paris. By exposing why cubist art is often depicted as a revolution, I will point out these different factors and try to explain the reason why this movement is essentially the expression of modernity. I will start with some of the points presented during the presentation, mainly the characteristics of cubism making it a new and one of a kind art form  –  to some of the factors that I found interesting in the development, the blossoming of this (short lived) artistic movement: the rise of capitalism, the coming together of multiple artists, writers and thinkers, and versatility of the movement itself in its capacity to branch out. Let’s go ak to the uote that stated this pape, ad the shoig of Les Demoiselles d’Aigo . The author of this painting is Pablo Picasso, and along with his friend George Braque, these are the artists who made the first step toward what would become the most popular art movement between the turn of the century and WWI. Both of them came together following the idea that art did not have to follow traditional conventions anymore. Therefore, they started to create of their own, entirely new  –  focused on perception and interpretation more than on imitation. The result is striking: like Cezanne desied it, atue is o teated  the sphee, the lide ad the oe…  and offers a completely different perspective on what reality is supposed to look like. This description matches perfectly well the painting just below:  2 Le V  iadu de l’Estaue   by Georges Braque captures a new way to see the world, and draw our attention to what matters to the artist. Here, the colors are very simple, the shapes matter more. There is a clear distinction between nature and the man-made: green and blurry versus brown and sharp edged. The confrontation of different spheres within the art is central to cubism. Most themes approached by Picasso, Braque or Léger srcinated with the rise of modernity, and cubism made them collapse into each other: new inventions, the city, colonialism, the other, the woman are some of the main ones. To go back to the stylistic part, some skills are to keep in mind while analyzing paintings or sculptures: the multiple vantage points eaig that a diffeet aspets of a ojet ould siultaeousl e potaed “goue , the deconstruction of space, as well as the oddly shaped and base subject matters, all of these being radically different from any kind of art preceding. In this painting by Léger, La Noce (1911) , we can seize most of the components discussed above, both stylistically and ideologically. The lines draw our attention to the center of the painting where we find the bride whose face is hard to distinguish, just like the groom behind her and the rest of the procession surrounding them. Turned upside down, lost in a space only defined by the four sides of the frame, the people are arguably lost, or at the very least challenged by modernity and these pointy shapes on the edge of the painting  –  presumably the city. Hee, the at of the oe ost likel stads fo the taditio, the eternal union and its notion in a changing and unstable world. At this point, it seems correct to assume that most if not all cubist artists were known for refusing the status quo, both artistic and social. Indeed, the act of rejecting conventions did not only mean the creation of art, but the way art was perceived and its place in society. Picasso was well known for having no interest whatsoever in exposing his work at galleries. And if different movements like Orphism with the Delaunays were slightly different and more commercial in nature by accepting to do exhibitions, one thing to keep in mind is that for the first time in a long time, art was primarily created as a mean of expression, of critic, with very little interest in pleasing the art dealers. This was again a radical novelty, a  3 peulia ehaio of puli ithdaal as i stak contrast to the practices of self- pootio i the at aket, hih deaded osistet effots at aisig oe’s o pofile ith hatee eas possile Cottigto .  We could certainly interpret this behavior as a clear reaction against capitalism. Indeed, art is often shaped by the context in which it is born. According to Mark Antliff in Cubism in the shadow of Marx (1998) , the politics in Fae at the tie plaed a seious pat i defiig the oeet lead  Piasso: the collapse of the Bloc de Gauches brought to an end the spirit of collaboration between classes and of the artistic and intellectual engagement with the politics that had been the podut of the Affai . The Dreyfus affair, the disillusion of a perfect society were material used by artists of all kind to express their discontent, distrust and even fear in the early 1900s, but also a fantastic opportunity to bring together thinkers, painters and writers by positioning themselves for or against the system, conversing on topics such as colonialism, war, and of course capitalism again. This was made possible by an interesting factor, essential to the understanding of the birth of cubism: the location of these people in city of Paris. Like Sgourev stated,  It is widely believed that cubism could not have been born elsewhere but in Paris . Ideed,  no other city featured a comparable century-long history of outstanding artistic activity, a tradition of intellectual freedom, a number of important museums, and the opportunity for creators to live cheaply at the edge of society without having their art rejected. As we saw it in class, the frenzy taking place in Paris at the time touched everything and everyone: from the city itself constantly evolving under the work of Haussman and his successors (the new Paris was only achieved in 1927), to the construction of the Eiffel tower i  ad the goig taste fo Gads Magasis like Le Piteps. All these changes affected the way people lived, from the lower to the bourgeois classes, and was a constant source of inspiration for artists. This Parisian situation being so unique, many of them gathered and started working together  –  like Braque and Picasso  –  in order to reconstruct the old’s alae. Aodig to Apolliaie … La issio… U n nouveau monde se degage du chaos des temps » (Adams 1999). This belief is perfectly tied to the cubists work. The world surrounding them is deconstructed, their goal is to capture the moment and the simultaneity of this exciting time, by celebrating it or making a critic of it, but especially challenging our vision of what it stands for.  4 In La Tour Rouge (1911) , Robert Delaunay shared his vision of modernity by painting the Eiffel tower, witnessing its construction from his earliest age. The fact that the Tower was supposed to be dismantled probably convinced him to make this object eternal, and he created numerous copies of it. However, they never exactly looked the same. Here, we see it floating, almost weightless when the steel structure and its height made it the most important and tallest building in the world at the time. The smoke in the background evokes the city, the hustle and bustle, but also makes us wonder if this painting is not simply an illusion  –  as the colors and the shapes collide in our mind. As an Orphist, Delaunay was promoting total abstraction in his work  –  leaving as much space possible for us viewers to imagine and interpret what was in front of our eyes. According to Apollinaire, Orphism was the art of new totalities, something we could translate as the perfect form of modern art. Despite the influence of Paris, the incredible networking done between artists and thinkers at the time that made cubism the first major artistic turn of the 19 th  century, some questions remain if not unanswered, at least in a grey area. The first one addresses the motivation behind cubism, and its possible reaction against photography. Though no evidences can be found, the start of movements such as impressionism closely followed by cubism matches the slow yet steady evolution of photography and film. The comparison can be pushed a little further too. The Lumières brothers, who created the first movie ever, made a public screening in Paris in 1895 at the Salon Indien du Grand Café. Quickly followed numerous projects and screenings (Georges Meliès’ Le voyage dans la Lune, 1902, being of the first commercial success), and soon the film became en vogue . Just as well, they released in 1907 the autochrome, the first easy way to take colored pictures. And even if the world of photography did not go fully public until the 1950s, it definitely became part of the Parisian quotidian experience by the end of the 1910s, with commercials on the street and in the newspapers. If this did not convince or forced the artists to go a different way, it probably inspired some
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