Planar Construction

William Tucker’s book contains the following very apposite remarks on cubist construction:
“Painting gives way to physical making, and survives only to key or differentiate existing parts. The picture surface has been replaced by the frontal planes of real volumes, although the orientation of the whole is still pictorial—that is forward to the spectator, back to the wall—and the illusion of deeper volume, of implied perspective, of modeled, rounded surfaces, is still consequently present.” (emphasis added)
This insight matches very well with Margit Rowell’s show and catalog The Planar Dimension, discussed earlier on this site. Objects that are still pictorial, that’s the interesting thing, not the idea of an object neither painting nor sculpture. There’s a future for abstraction there, and for painting.

Pablo Picasso, Musical Instruments 1913

Pablo Picasso, Musical Instruments 1914

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3 Responses to Planar Construction

  1. Sam Cornish says:

    The interesting bit here is “illusion of deeper volume, of implied perspective, of modeled, rounded surfaces, is still consequently present”, isn’t it? After all a lot of abstract art, whether within or beyond the frame, situates planes pictorially. Are the features WT sees in the Picasso compatible with abstract art? Perhaps if they are not then that would be best (as art should try and overcome contradiction?) Isn’t a volumetric, circumambient space the central thrust of Working Space?

  2. I’m not sure exactly what the issue is in your comment , but my first thought is that I would never want to eliminate or otherwise resolve contradiction. I’m thinking more about space these days so hope that the posts and discussion help to move things along, but not immediately sure what to say. With respect to Stella, I love Working Space, but I wouldn’t hold him to anything he said there, because he did back off later. The very interesting article is called Grimm’s Ecstasy, mostly about Aemilian painting, and you can find it in a couple of different publications. He basically comes back to surface, maybe because he realized the danger of making programmatic statements. For me the key is illusion. The illusionist bits in the Picasso are not as strongly illusionist as in the Raphael someone tweeted on abcrit, sure, so I guess we have a real circumambient space combined with scraps of illusion.

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