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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Gino Severini

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The Example In The Tradition
1919 - Writings and Theories

I don't intend to impose any restrictions on subject choice; I just want it understood that the familiar objects that surround us, and which we use all the time, constitute "modern subjects" and that it is not necessary to rack one's brain in search for "subjects" --which would necessarily be inspired by intellectual preferences of a more or less philosophical nature, rather than by a purely plastic sense or by a desire to do nothing but paint.

Precision, rhythm, the brutality of machines and their movements have no doubt led us to a new Realism that we can express without painting locomotives.

All the efforts of avant-garde painters aim at the expression of this new Realism which I defined in the preceding article. Ideist Realism, adopting Remy de Gourmont's apt expression.

The obsession to penetrate, to conquer by all means the sense of the real, to identify with life in all fibers of our body, is at the base of our search and at the base of the esthetics of all times.

In this general context can be found the origins of our precise and geometrical constructions, of our applications of assorted materials on canvas, such as fabric, glass, paper, and of all the futile attempts that unfortunately were poorly understood or systematized.

In my personal search, I went as far as combining mobile surfaces of cardboard and paper that can be rotated and moved sidewise. From there, it was a small step to use motors or other mechanical forces.

But we all have now abandoned these means to reach Realism and movement in a painting, as well as the relation between "quantities" of colors and the position of lines--only exclusively pictorial means must convey the feeling of the real that we are striving for.

For the era of reactions through "ism" is finished, and from the created works a kind of collective esthetics changes gradually, the result of the combined efforts of many artists. This does not necessarily mean a renunciation of the personality because, as we see in the example of plastic art to this day, originality may have had a collective esthetic basis.

Gino Severini, Le Mercure de France

[An Exerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 193]




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