I’m going to start today’s presentation with a series of mysterious questions, a kind of Da Vinci Code , to get you thinking about how studying Modernism might impact upon your general relationship to art. I will answer these questions at the end.
The modern period, brought on by mercantilism and exploration, is under-written by relationships between European and non-European peoples.
[read up on specific symbolism]
Contained within the categorizations are binary oppositions. These are terms that derive their meaning from there relationship to another, exclusive term. In 19 th century discourse it is apparent that these terms were not seen a equal, but one was always privileged.
Native American’s Exhibited at the Zoo “ Modesty, which may be provisionally defined as an almost instinctive fear prompting to concealment and usually centering around the sexual processes, while common to both sexes is more peculiarly feminine, so that it may almost be regarded as the chief secondary sexual character of women on the psychical side. The woman who is lacking in this kind of fear is lacking, also, in sexual attractiveness to the normal and average man.” Havelock Ellis “Studies in the Psychology of Sex”
Opens up – for the modern artist wanting to return perhaps to a more ‘natural’ form of expression a rich field of sources to explore. The idea of exploring the shadier sides of life – as per Bauderlaire – the brothels, where you’d be supplied with naked bodies, drunks, became a romanticised subject matter. Likewise was born the idea of ‘going away’, of removing yourself from the urban centres in order to find more innocent ways of life.
Artist colonies all across Europe.
Culture had a specific meaning in German – distinct from Civilization. See Fracina et al. p.36.
Self titled. Thing of all the “isms” we’ve looked at, will look at.
Modernism in Art: An Intoduction. Picasso's exorcism: Fear of 'Primitives' and 'Prostitutes'
Picasso’s Exorcism: Fear of ‘Primitives’ and ‘Prostitutes’
This lecture should: Picasso’s Exorcism: Fear of ‘Primitives’ and ‘Prostitutes’ <ul><li>Give you an understanding of the prevailing attitudes towards other cultures before and during the 19 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an account of the background for ‘primitivism’ in art, including the work of Paul Gauguin, les Fauves, the German Expressionists and Picasso. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a nuanced, critical reading of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. </li></ul>
Modernity and Colonialism “ There had been, from the beginning of classical speculation, two contrasting opinions about the natural state of man [...] One view, termed "soft" primitivism [...] conceives of primitive life as a golden age of plenty, innocence, and happiness -- in other words, as civilized life purged of its vices. The other, "hard" form of primitivism conceives of primitive life as an almost subhuman existence full of terrible hardships and devoid of all comforts -- in other words, as civilized life stripped of its virtues.” (Panofsky...)
Benjamin West, The Treaty of Penn with the Indians, 1771-72 George Carter, fl.1769-1784, Death of Captain Cook, 1781
Otherness – binary oppositions in the 19 th Century world view. Culture Nature > Rationality Irrationality (emotion) > Civilized > Primitive Man Woman > Western Non-Western >
Imperialism and acquisition Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Interior
Progress and evolution “ Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution lies behind many early anthropological and sociological definitions of the primative. It is significant however, that what were originally essentially mecanistic principles of biological transformations were quickly translated into philisophical prrof for new versions of the medieval idea of a vertically orientated ‘Great Chain of Being’ […] a ‘ladder’ on which men were arranged in ascending order of importance according to ‘race’ (and often class).” (Rhodes 1994, p. 14)
Exoticism and Orientalism “ ...so authoritive a position did Orientalism have that I believe no one writing, thinking, or acting on the Orient could do so without taking account of the limitations on thought imposed by Orientalism.” (Said, p.3)
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1862) Le Bain Turkish
Jean-L éon Gérôme (1895) The Whirling Dervishes
The Exotic in Popular Culture Mike Leigh (1999) Topsy- Turvey . Timothy Spall as Richard Temple, playing the Makado
Mike Leigh (1999) Topsy- Turvey . Jim Broadbent and Allan Cordener as W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
Karl Girandet (1845) Geroge Catlin’s Iowa Troupe perform for Louis Philippe
The Exotic in Popular Culture Josephine Baker (1927) The Banana Dance at the Folies Bergere
The Savage Mind “ By the turn of the [20 th Century] the belief that the vision of the savage was somehow pre-rational or childlike had passed into popular thought” (Rhodes 1994, p. 14) Paul Klee (1922) Head of a man going senile
Brittany and Pont-Aven Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret (1886) Le Pardon en Bretagne Paul Gaugin (1889) La Lutte de Jacob avec l’ange (The Vision after the Sermon)
Katsushika Hokusai (approx 1820) Sunset over the Ryogoku Bridge
Left: Gaugin (1894) manuscript of Noa Noa. Right: Paul Gaugin (1891) The Man with the Axe
In Germany A house in Worpswede Paula Modersohn-Becker (1906-7) Self-portrait with camellia sprig
Cultural Criticism Georg Simmel “… the essentially intellectualistic character of mental life of the metropolis becomes intelligible over against the small town which rests more on feelings and emotional relationships. There latter are rooted in the unconscious levels of the mind and develop most readily in the steady equilibrium of unbroken customs.” (Simmel 1903, p.12)
Expressionism “ The belief that the artist could directly convey some kind of inner feeling – emotional or spiritual – through art was a fashionable idea in German artistic and intellectual circles at the beginning of the twentieth century.” (Frascina et al. 1993, p.63) Erich Heckel (1910) Brücke Cover page of Brücke exhibition catalogue
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1909) Badende am Moritzburg (Bathers at Moritzburg)
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1909-10) Badende in Raum (Bathers in a Room)
Pablo Picasso (1910) Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler Pablo Picasso (1910) Portrait of Ambroise Vollard
“ When I went to the Trocadero it was disgusting … I was all alone” “ [The Negroes’ sculpture [sic] was] against everything: against unknown, threatening spirits […] I understood: I too am against everything. I too think that everything that is unknown , is the enemy! Everything! Not just the devils – women, children, animals, tobacco, playing – but everything!” “ If we give form to the spirits, we become independent of them. The spirits the unconscious … emotion, it’s the same thing. I understood why I was a painter. All alone in that awful museum, the masks, the Red Indian dolls, the dusty mannequins. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon must have come to me that day […] it was my first canvas of exorcism – yes, absolutely!” (Picasso 1974 ) Trocadero in 1900
Pablo Picasso (1907) Studies for Les Demoiselles D’Avignon
Pablo Picasso (1907) Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
“ Primitivism in Modern Art is predominantly about making the familiar strange or about maintaining the strangeness of unfamiliar experiences as a means of questioning the experiences as a means of questioning the recieved wisdom of Western Culture. This contrasts with the general trend in European Art since the Renaissance, which has sought to render the experiences of new cultures in a visual language that contains and neutralises the threat of the unkown by absorbing it into recognised systems of representation.” (Rhodes 1994, p.75)
References <ul><li>Brunner, Kathleen (2004) Picasso Writing Picasso . Black Dog Publishing, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Fitzgerald, Michael F. (1996) Making Modernism: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth-Century Art. </li></ul><ul><li>Foster, Hal (1985) The ‘Primitive’ Unconscious of Modern Art in Harris, J. (ed) (1992) Art In Modern Culture: An Anthology of Critical Texts . Open University, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Harrison, Charles, Francis Frascina and Gill Perry (1993) Primitivism, Cubism and Abstraction . The Open University, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Lemke, Sieglinde (1998) Primitivist Modernism: Black Culture and the Origins of Transatlantic Modernism . Oxford University Press, Oxford. </li></ul><ul><li>Nietsche, Friedrich (2003) Thus Spoke Zarathustra . Penguin Books, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Rubin, Colin (1994) Primitivism in Modern Art. Thames and Huson, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Rubin, William (ed.) (1994) ‘Primitivism’ . The Museum of Modern Art, New York. </li></ul><ul><li>Said, Edward W. (2003 ) Orientalism. Penguin Books, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Simmel, Georg (1903) The Metropolis and Mental Life . Found at: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/0631225137/Bridge.pdf [accessed 27/01/11] </li></ul><ul><li>Stocking, George W. (1985) Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture . The University of Wisconsin Press, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Wolf, Norbert (2006) Expressionism . Taschen, Cologne. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood, Paul (ed.) (1999) The Challenge of the Avant-Garde . The Open University, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Reading: </li></ul><ul><li>Clifford, James (1988) Histories of the Tribal and Modern , in The Predicament of Culture . Harvard University Press. Pp 189 – 214. </li></ul>