Friday, 10 September 2010

Reading and DVD Unit 13

This unit looks at the visual arts from around 1900 to the outbreak of WWII.  It looks at modern art and the many movements and changes that occurred to the art world in this period.  There were a huge number of changes and the traditional art world was turned on it's head with artists trying to get away as much as possible for the academies and to create art from anything and everything.  Modern artists went against all naturalism and realism and the first truly abstract Western works were produced in this period.  I found I hadn't really realised how early modern art was being produced with hugely revolutionary and interesting works being created between 1900 and 1910.  Many of the movements were formed from ideologies and political ideas.

Freud's ideas of the subconscious greatly influenced artists of the time and this alongside a new interest in non Western art such as African sculptures and paintings led to a totally new way of looking breaking away from all previous conventions.


Successionists in late 1890s artists and architects in Vienna who broke away from the establishment and were anti academic.  Influenced by African arts, wanted to rid selves of civilised restraints.  Artists in this movement included Klimt - themes of subconsious, evil, death, love and sexuality.  Shela - sexuality and brutally direct images - very intense.  

Fauve - (Wild Beasts) shortlived movement in early part of century.  Linked to expressionism - naive art.  Artists used bold colours, round handling and anti naturalistic.  There are clashing colours and deliberate disharmonies - supposed to be expressive of the artists emotional reaction to the subject.

Cubism - as defined by Braque and Picasso (but they didn't exhibit or take part in Cubist exhibitions etc) Both representational and anti naturalistic at the same time.  Not abstract but not looking like the thing it represents!  Typically flat surfaces meeting at sharp angles (faceting).  Light used arbitarally not realistically.  Differing viewpoints used within same picture and of same object - think Picasso faces!

Futurism - An ideology more than just a movement.  Launched in Milan by poet Emilio Filipo Tommaso Marrietti in 1908.  Futurist manifesto published in Paris in 1909 - international impact.  Rather violent, leader felt that war was the 'sole hygiene of the world' - ideas to obliterate the past, burn the museums, drain the canals of Venice - wanted to replace with a new society, poetry and art based on dynamic sensations.  Boccioni was responsible for the Futurist manifesto of painting - says should represent the total experience not the impression.  A big emphasis on intuition.  Rejection of stable compositions, the action of the subject may already of passed by (?!) Proposed use of non trad materials.  Futurism ends in 1916 - short lived but huge impact and influence on Western art.

De Stijl - Dutch movement - means The Style.  Founded in Amsterdam by painters Mondrian and Doesburg and architect Pieter Oud.  They felt that the ultimate goal of Cubism should be abstraction and that they should follow this through.  They had the ideas of purity, harmony and sobriety and felt these should make for a perfectly balanced society and individuals.

Dada - a state of mind rather than literary or artistic movement.  Anarchic, nihilistic and disruptive - against all establishment values, traditional ideas of good taste, against everything.  "The true Dadaist is against Dadaism"
Examples Duchamp's ready mades - just stuff that he decides to exhibit and thus becomes art.

Surrealism - Successors to Dada.  Close links with political revolutionarys - denounced bourgeois values.  As disruptive as Dadaists but not so spontaneously archaic.  Surrealist Manifesto published by Andre Breton in 1924 (in Paris) - emancipation from all restraints- to explore the world of psychic experience of Freud dream theory.  Dream and reality into absolute reality - Surreality.  Breton suggested 2 methods to subconscious - through dreams or autonism - trying to get away from the control of reason.  Many Surrealist were former Dadaists. Encompassed poetry, literary and visual arts.  Writers did automatic writing method. 

Constructivists - Russian movement.  Interested in function over aesthetic appeal and materials as appropriate to the needs of society.  Women working alongside men as equals.  Ideas for furniture, ceramics etc design.  Artists mission to express revolutionary prole aspirations and enhance physical and intellectual conditions.   Also architectural designs.  Many couldn't be realised due to lack of materials.  Short lived as Lenin's New Economic Policy put an end to it. 

Bauhaus - (House of Building) German design school.  Launched in 1919 by Gropius combining the School of Art and Crafts with the School of Fine Art.  Aims to rethink all aspects of what is needed for a new society - believed could bring about social change through creation of new visual environments.  Guidelines for 20th C design - architecture, furniture, ceramics, visual art everything necessary for life - no distinction between structural and decorative arts.  Took Constructivist ideas of simple functionality and used modern methods of manufacture - mass production and industrialisation.  However was felt to be elitist.  Marcel Breuer's tubular steel chair still in production 90 years later.