January 3rd.—Christina Luzius-Vanin’s Review

The Great Upheaval; Masterpieces from the Guggenheim collection 1910-1918

This Exhibition housed many works from Guggenheim’s collection of European 20th century art which marks innovative transitions evident within 1910-1918.The show outlined the progressions of experimentation with new mythologies of production which initiated movements such as cubism, expressionism and futurism. It contains a several of artists including Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Vasily Kandinsky and several others.

 

 

One of the pieces included in the AGO was Jean

Metzinger’s Femme à l’Éventail, Woman with a fan

produced in 1912-13. Visually lines both distort the image

into fragments and direct the viewer’s eyes around the

painting. However the paint strokes within each

fragmented space do not follow this flow and juxtapose to

each other, adding tensions and pauses within the viewing

experience. Moreover, the fragmented quality of the

painting indicates that the artist was not interested in

illustrating a perfect perspective of the environment the

figure is painted in. The windows, the geometric

shapes of architecture  and the chair are the only things

which provide the viewer with a sense of pace. The chair

is the most defined object in the painting giving the lower

left corner solidity which is not found elsewhere in the

painting. However, what is most interesting to me is how

the figure is rendered, as the lines constructing the space

around her form her image in a way which makes it seems

she is an extension of the surrounding architecture. The fragments of her form visually act as a reproduction as patterns of her attire become repetitive, while her facial qualities become lost and generic. As an outcome the focus becomes directed towards the clothing of the figure. This is fascinating in the correlation of classical traditional portraiture of women whose clothing becomes decorative and defined then their individualistic characteristics. Like this classical tradition the woman here is acting as an object however, the fragmented face of the woman denies the viewer’s gaze.

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