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Made You Look: The Cubist Art of Deception

by Ronaldo Derric
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Paris, and the year is 1910. Four years from now he will see Europe shatter, but his paintings are already falling apart. Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso are not yet 30, but they are painting like never before in their Montmartre studios. flat picture. broken picture. A painting that boils down human experience into a stew of signs and signs, leading the 20th century to abstraction.

From their hero, Paul Cézanne, they learned to deconstruct and reconstruct multiple perspectives. They studied Central African sculpture at the Colonial Ethnographic Museum in Paris, learning to articulate the body into pure geometry. The crossing of these two wires shocks the history of Western art, triggering a whole new kind of imagery that for the first time in 500 years takes place in simulating real life. Not content with innovative painting, they created a more radical form of collage, polluting the art realm with newspapers and shop debris.

At least, that’s how Cubist stories usually go: a story of a complete break with illusionism. Textbooks still teach that way. That’s how critics like me reflexively tell it. And it now says “Cubism and the tradition of trompe l’oeil, a spectacular and hilarious new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What if Picasso and Braque had a purpose other than shooting abstract art’s first pistols? What if Cubism, which owes Cézanne and Central Africa, tapped into another, lower kind of imagery?

The view of Cubism as an art without illusion is…all illusion?

Over the course of seven years, the exhibition flips the modernist gameboard by presenting the great puzzles of contemporary Paris by Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris. Many of these are from his 2013 groundbreaking gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder.alongside dozens of early paintings aimed at Tromper l’oeil: Fool the eye.

In the 17th century, trompe l’oeil had fans among both the European aristocracy and the new middle class, who paid top dollar for pictures on letter racks. Appears to be a real envelope jammedor as if wrinkled paper Paste directly on canvasTrompe l’oeil artists are also in great demand in the decorative arts and will be hired by wealthy patrons. painting decorator Shellac the drawing room with imitation marble and porphyry.

By the time of the Enlightenment, however, trompe l’oeil was seriously out of favor. There was no high art seriousness, no better juvenile pastime than that. (It’s still a kind of image-making that appeals to the masses. New York is Commercial Museum of IllusionsAt a tourist attraction in the Meatpacking District, an optical mirage invites visitors to “Fool the eyes and feast the mind! It made the books and letters look very real. I could grab hold of them, but it was rarely as simple as a one-liner.

It was a deception showed off that trick. and this program hosted by Emily Brown When Elizabeth Cowling And full of rigorous scholarship and some mischievous puns, Cubism suggests that we have taken lessons from these dismantlers who dictate how we look today. A lesson that might clarify the issue if you are unfamiliar with it. Cubism, despite its importance, retains an unfortunate reputation of being forbidden or secretive. It was a lesson and provided us with an important example of how modern culture longs for its own demise.

lesson 1: A picture is just a picture.It’s not a fantastic window into the world, but a flat, oiled surface, and it has no problem reminding the viewer of a little joke: look at one of his earliest Cubist paintings. Let’s see: Braque’s 1909violin and palette, on loan from the Guggenheim. The space becomes a mosaic because the instruments and the artist’s tools lie in a very shallow plane. The nail, represented by two vertical black lines, casts a crooked shadow like a dislocated shoulder. The black outline lacks depth, and the hastily drawn green brushstrokes in the upper right corner suggest curtains pulled back as if on a stage set.

The watershed was Braque’s reduction of the pictorial space from three dimensions to two dimensions. Still, he saw that trompe l’oeil refused to simulate space through one-point perspective. A fake frame made it clear: the photo was just a photo. The flat wood panels were painted to look like… flat wood panels. Irish-American artist William Michael Harnett 1888 trompe l’oeil panela violin and its bow, some sheet music, and even a horseshoe hanging from a nail driven into a wooden door.

lesson 2: Humble subjects can carry profound meaning. Cubist still lifes from 1912 to 1912 remove the Cézanne-style fruit bowl and incorporate elements of early Dutch art, including stringed instruments, wine goblets, and tobacco pipes. Juxtaposed with these rich 17th-century still-life paintings, one table holds faded flowers, another his half-burnt pipe, his lighter. None of them are trompe l’oeil. Everything is precisely detailed — Cubist still lifes take on a surprising dimension of melancholy and vanity.

These death-obsessed predecessors give another major Cubist motif a startling new luster. Newspapers are sometimes painted, sometimes pasted, their mastheads and headlines collide with tables, wine Slip into the bottle. Commonly accepted wisdom regarding Cubism deals with these words and letters, especially the JOU of Cubism’s favorite scandalous sheet Le Journal. As a symbol freed from its original meaningThey feel more like memento mori on this show, reminding us that all our lives will one day be yesterday’s news.

lesson 3, most importantly: nothing is pure about culture. High art should not be isolated from the outside world. Trompe l’oeil artists loved to paint letters, calling cards, books, and etchings. In turn, the Cubists infected French art with advertising, sheet music, and pulp fiction.With the invention of collage in 1912, Cubism paved the way for a second modernism. Able to maintain the independence and self-determination that animate abstract art. Or they can give shape to the modern world through aggregation, stitching up, reuse and misuse.

In his inexplicably dense 1912 Still Life with the Whipping of a Chair, Picasso slipped between the real and the fake, showing what was possible for an artist who found and painted. Here is another scene of a cafe table with newspaper and glass. Picasso pasted something like a rattan cane on a chair in a cafe, but he becomes a cloth on a commercially available table. printed An image of canned food. (This is a landmark Picasso, on loan from Paris to New York for the first time in 30 years.) The son of a house painter, Braque had a special talent for simulating wallpaper. Mixture of commercially printed decorations and painted replicas: Copies of copies, markdowns and revalued items.

“Cubism and the Tradition of Trompe l’oeil” pays attention to visual tricks and focuses on a second, more percussive phase of Cubism, usually called synthetic Cubism. Its focus slightly overshadows Picasso and gives Braque his due, crowning the new champions of media monkey business and pictorial art. Come forward, Juan Gris: Picasso and Braque A perpetual third wheel in a classic rivalry, where you graduate to TKO Champion in Cubist Illusions.

Time and time again we see Gris pushing the deception of Cubism to its limits. Gris finds a way to scheme new images of a world moving faster than ever before. In Grice’s raucous 1913 Violin and Sculpture (which Lauder donated to the Met this year), the classical Cubist motifs of musical instruments, his bottles of wine, and wallpaper are appropriately named after Turner. crossed with engraving. I then drew a broken frame around the pasted painting and told the dealer that the buyer could replace it as they please. Another of Lauder’s new gifts, ‘Flowers’ (1914), alludes to the meeting of lovers through wallpaper carefully paved with marble and floral motifs.

He pasted pages of vampire serials, war reports, cigarette wrappers, and even mirrors. He chopped headlines, carved them into mismatched scenes, and created new meanings through bold decontextualization. (Juan Gris: The original meme lord.) It was Gris who had a smoother, more tightly locked collage than Picasso’s or Black’s, and most fully explains what makes Cubism so important today. Grease is represented in From past and present, beauty and trash. He had all the best jokes too. “We were like roped climbers,” Braque once said of himself and Picasso.In a still life with a violin, Gris portrays the bromance rivalry. newspaper headline About two adventurers fighting over a discovery: “Explorers at Odds…”

A new era required a new image. There was no way out. His three young men in Montmartre understood it in different ways, but in the same way. grille retrospective Held last year in Baltimore and Dallas.When information was moving too fast to keep up, when crises were relentless and war looming, Cubists said what better than representing life? didthey Configured life through art. They created a whole new culture out of the pieces they picked up and the pieces they glued together. Headline Spelling GRIS —they found themselves transformed.

You could say that art of ambition was necessary in those days, but so is our time, and everyone knows it’s not happening. War of unbearable brutality. barbaric technology. An epidemic that hasn’t been seen in 100 years. A climate change that has not been seen in the entire geological epoch. And against the backdrop of all this confusion – is there anything new? Autofiction and Anna Wayant? Self-esteem and ‘Stranger Things’? “The goal was to be concerned with pictorial factual construction rather than anecdotal reconstruction of fact,” Black said. Who will face our times head-on, dive into shipwrecks, and build something new?


Cubism and the tradition of trompe l’oeil
January 22nd, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. 212-535-7710;metmuseum.org.

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