4th STOP: CUBISM
Cubism was a truly revolutionary style of modern art developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques. It was the first style of abstract art which evolved at the beginning of the 20th century in response to a world that was changing with unprecedented speed. Cubism was an attempt by artists to revitalise the tired traditions of Western art which they believed had run their course. The Cubists challenged conventional forms of representation, such as perspective, which had been the rule since the Reinacence.
The limitations of perspective were eliminated as Cubists wanted to make pictures that reached beyond the rigid geometry of perspective and introduce the idea of ‘relativity’. The artist perceived and selected elements from the subject, fusing both their observations and memories into the one concentrated image. The Cubists proposed that your sight of an object is the sum of many different views and your memory of an object is not constructed from one angle, as in perspective, but from many angles selected by your sight and movement.
P. PICASSO ‘Factory, Horta de Ebbo’, 1909 G. BRAQUES’ Violin and Candlestick”, 1910
The Cubists believed that the traditions of Western art had become exhausted and another remedy they applied to revitalize their work was to draw on the expressive energy of art from other cultures, especially African art.
LEFT: Pablo Picasso, ‘Head of a Woman’, 1907
RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa
Around 1912, the styles of Picasso and Braque were becoming predictable. Their images had grown so similar that their paintings of this period are often difficult to tell apart. Their work was increasingly abstract and less recognisable as the subject of their titles. Cubism was running out of creative steam. In an attempt to revitalise the style and pull it back from total abstraction, Picasso began to glue printed images from the ‘real world’ onto the surface of his still lifes. His painting ‘Still Life with Chair Caning’ was the first example of this ‘collage’ technique and it opened the door for himself and other artists to the second phase of the Cubist style.
LEFT: Pablo Picasso ‘Still Life with mandolin and Guitar’, 1924
RIGHT: George Braques ‘Vase, Palette, and Mandolin’, 1936
10 APR 2014 – EXPERIMENTING
The first test is finding inspiration from some modern cubist photographer. Not so many are shown on a first search. One of the most influential artist of 20th century using cubism is the talented multi-skilled David Hockney, here are some of his so called ‘joiners’:
Another excellent photographer is Stephen McNally an England-based fine art photographer, specializing in landscape photography and street photography:
In search of a nice subject, I walk around to find some inspiration. A nice orange truck found in my neighbourhood look good, my first test is on:
Well, not the finest but acceptable as trial n1. White background looks terrible!
14 APR 2014
Car n2 works out better already, I used a Stephen McNally collage as a background:
I actually think it looks good. Moving now to some more complicated subjects, here is my first landscape:
Quite a failure in this case, way more shots are needed, I really don’t like this one, miles away from McNally’s work. And so I try to focus on a landscape with a solid protagonist:
This is taken from ‘Dangerous Minds’ website “Hockney started taking Polaroids of his home and studio. He took multiple pictures, concentrating on some areas, and ignoring others. Hockney then selected the photos he wanted to use, placed these onto a board, arranging them by the same decisions of “line and form” that he used when drawing a picture ” (http://dangerousminds.net/comments/david_hockneys_cubist_photography). Quite a easy brief to follow, see if ti enough to get me creative. Above is the result: two churches, Hackney’s (England) and mine (just round the corner from my house). Pick your favourite. I am happy with the result…
14 APR 2014
To finish, I decided to try with a portrait:
In order to create a more cubistic atmosphere, I add a squares frame I found on Google. It’s ok, nothing special. I don’t particularly cubistic portrait in general, I reckon still life and portrait look much better.
27 APR 2014
In conclusion, I do like Cubism, it has a very strong view of reality and I will use it for some future projects. Though I guess every once in a while will be enough, I still prefer create on the spot rather than built the all image in post…