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an exploration

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ISSUE 1 March 2014

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MODERNISM Impressionism


Abstract art Cubism Futurism Constructivism De stijl

POST MODERNISM Dada Surrealism Pop art Abstract expressionism

Modernism is more a way of t than a style. Modernists beli the design of an object shou purely on its purpose - that ‘form follows function’.

thinking ieved that uld be based

Impressionism 1870-1890 Impressionism is the name given to a colorful style of painting in France at the end of the 19th century. The Impressionists searched for a more exact analysis of the effects of color and light in nature. They sought to capture the atmosphere of a particular time of day or the effects of different weather conditions. They often worked outdoors and applied their paint in small brightly colored strokes which meant sacrificing much of the outline and detail of their subject. Impressionism abandoned the conventional idea that the shadow of an object was made up from its color with some brown or black added. Instead, the Impressionists enriched their colors with the idea that a shadow is broken up with dashes of its complementary color.

Camille Pissarro , Boulevard Montmartre, effet de nuit 1898

Camille Pissarro ,The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning 1897

Abstrac 1907 - on

Abstract Art is a generic two different metho ‘semi abstraction’ and The word ‘abstract’ part of something in separately. In Ab ‘something’ is one visual elements of shape, tone, pattern Although elements present in earlier art modern abstract art Cubism. Among abstract styles in the 20th centu Rayonism, Construc Abstract Expressionis

Georges Braque Man With a Guitar 1914

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c term that describes ods of abstraction: d ‘pure abstraction’. means to withdraw order to consider it bstract art that or more of the a subject: its line, n, texture, or form. of abstraction are tworks, the roots of are to be found in other important that developed ury are Orphism, ctivism, Tachisme, sm, and Op Art.

Georges Braque Man With a Guitar 1914

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Cubism was inven Paris by Pablo Pi Braque. It was th of modern art. Cu the traditions of p and show you m ject at one time. T that the traditions become exhaust their work, they d sive energy of art particularl

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nted around 1907 in icasso and Georges he first abstract style ubist paintings ignore perspective drawing many views of a subThe Cubists believed s of Western art had ted and to revitalize drew on the exprest from other cultures, ly African art.

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Futurism (1909-1914) Futurism was a revolutionary Italian movement that celebrated modernity. The Futurist vision was outlined in a series of manifestos that attacked the long tradition of Italian art in favour of a new avant-garde. They glorified industrialization, technology, and transport along with the speed, noise and energy of urban life. The Futurists adopted

the visual vocabulary of Cubism to express their ideas - but with a slight twist. In a Cubist painting the artist records selected details of a subject as he moves around it, whereas in a Futurist painting the subject itself seems to move around the artist. The effect of this is that Futurist paintings appear more dynamic than their Cubist counterparts.

Giacomo Balla, Mimicry synoptic’: the tree-woman or woman-flower 1915

Giacomo Balla, Mimicry synoptic’: the sky-woman 1915

Constructivism 1913-1930

Constructivism used the same geometric language as Suprematism but abandoned its mystical vision in favour of their ‘Socialism of vision’ - a Utopian glimpse of a mechanized modernity according to the ideals of the October Revolution. However, this was not an art that was easily understood by the proletariat and it was eventually repressed and replaced by Socialist Realism. Tatlin, Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Naum Gabo were among the best artists associated with Constructivism.

El Lissitzky, Kestnermappe Proun, Rob. Levnis and Chapman GmbH Hannover #5 1923

De Stijl 1917-1931

De Stijl was a Dutch ‘style’ of pure abstraction developed by Piet Mondrian, Theo Van Doesburg and Bart van der Leck. Mondrian was the outstanding artist of the group. He was a deeply spiritual man who was intent on developing a universal visual language that

was free from any hint of the nationalism that led to the Great War. Mondrian gradually refined the elements of his art to a grid of lines and primary colors which he configured in a series of compositions that explored his universal principles of harmony. He saw the elements of line and

color as possessing counteracting cosmic forces. Vertical lines embodied the direction and energy of the sun’s rays. These were countered by horizontal lines relating to the earth’s movement around it. He saw primary colors through the same cosmic tinted spectacles: yellow radiated the sun’s

energy; blue receded as infinite space and red materialized where blue and yellow met. Mondrian’s style which he also called ‘Neo-Plasticism’ was inspired by the Theosophical beliefs of the mathematician and philosopher, M.H.J. Schoenmaekers.

“There are no hard distin tween what is real and w real, nor between what is what is false. A thing is n sarily either true or fals both true and false.�

nctions bewhat is uns true and not necesse; it can be

Dada 1916-1922 Dada was not a style of art like Fauvism or Cubism. It was a form of artistic anarchy born out of disgust for the social, political and cultural establishment of the time which it held responsible for Europe’s descent into World War. Dadaism was an ‘anti art’ stance as it was intent on destroying the artistic values of the past. The aim of Dada was to create a climate in which art was alive to the moment and not paralysed by the corrupted traditions of the established order. Dada’s weapons in the war against the art establishment were confrontation and provocation. They confronted the artistic establishment with the irrationality of their collages and assemblages and provoked conservative complacency with outrageous actions at their exhibitions and meetings. The Dada movement started in Zurich and spread as far as New York. Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hausmann, Jean Arp and Kurt Schwitters were among the best of the Dada artists.

Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel 1913

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain 1917

Surrealism 1924-1939 Surrealism was the positive response to Dada’s negativity. Its aim, as outlined in the First Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, was to liberate the artist’s imagination by tapping into the unconscious mind to discover a ‘superior’ reality - a ‘sur-reality’. To achieve this the Surrealists drew upon the images of dreams, the effects of combining disassociated images, and the technique of ‘pure psychic automatism’, a spontaneous form of drawing without the conscious control of the mind. The look of Surrealist art was inspired by the irrational juxtaposition of images in Dada collages, the metaphysical art of Giorgio de Chirico, and both ‘primitive’ and ‘outsider’ art. The most influential of the Surrealist artists were Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali and René Magritte. The movement broke up at the outbreak of war in 1939 when several of the Surrealists left Europe for New York where they had a formative influence on the development of Abstract Expressionism.

Rene Magritte, The Lovers.1928

Abstract Exp 1946-1

Abstract Expressionism was the first American art style to exert an influence on a global scale. It drew upon the ‘spiritual’ approach of Kandinsky, the ‘automatism’ of the Surrealists, and a range of dramatic painting techniques.

Abstract Expressionism was also known as ‘Action Painting’, a title which implied that the physical act of painting was as important as the result itself.

pressionism 1956

The Abstract Expressionist movement embraced paintings from a wide range of artists whose work was not always purely abstract or truly expressionistic. The ‘all-over’ drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, which entangle the viewer in a skein of light, color and texture, were the biggest challenge to the interpre-

tation of pictorial space since Cubism. The paintings of Mark Rothko bathe the spectator in a mystical world of diffuse color while the art of Robert Motherwell sets up an abstract dialogue between his ‘automatic’ calligraphy and the conscious control of shapes and colors. Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnet Newman and Clifford Still were other major figures associated with

the movement.

Jackson Pollock, Number 8, 1949

Pop Art (1954-1970) Pop Art was the art movement that characterized a sense of optimism during the post war consumer boom of the 1950’s and 60’s. It coincided with the globalization of pop music and youth culture, personified by Elvis and The Beatles. Pop Art was brash, colorful, young, fun and hostile to the artistic establishment. It included different styles of painting and sculpture from various countries, but what they all had in common was an interest in popular culture.

The stark look of Pop Art emerged from a fusion of Dada collages and ‘readymades’ with the imagery of the consumer culture. It was seen as an antidote to the introspection of Abstract Expressionism. The expressive techniques of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg provided the stylistic link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop but the images of celebrity and consumerism by Andy Warhol and the comic book iconography of Roy Lichtenstein represent the style as we know it today.

Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl 1963

Roy Lichtenstein, Varoom! 1963

New Visual Language  
New Visual Language  

Project – New Visual Language Issue 1: Form follows function – an exploration of Modernism and Post Modernism ( Hudgraphic, Modernism, 2014...