The Success And Failure Of Picasso' Essay By John Berger

The Success And Failure Of Picasso' Essay By John Berger-30
But there was also a negative result – which may have had as much to do with his childhood success as with the mystery. He denies the causal connexion between searching and finding.He denies that there is such a thing as development in art. It would be understandable if he ignored all these intellectual considerations when it came to respecting and responding to the mystery of his own powers. He hates reasoning in general and despises the interchange of ideas.It also stresses the difference between his unified world of magic and the life around him in a class society: The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

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long ago, when I was a student, and am now re-reading it for a second time.

I’m a different person now, and it’s like reading a new book for the first time.

Mankind always takes up only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.

The preparations for the revolution of Cubism were begun in the nineteenth century by two artists: Courbet and Cézanne.

It now includes him and the evidence of his senses and his constantly changing relationships to what he is seeing.

Before Cézanne, every painting was to some extent like a view seen through a window.But for a few years, from 1907 onwards, the two were combined.Despite the ignorance and philistinism of Moscow in its Stalinist and post-Stalinist pronouncements about painting, and despite the fact that none of the artists concerned were in any way marxists, it is both possible and logical to define Cubism during those years as the only example of dialectical materialism in painting.And it was far more than a stylistic revolt against what had preceded it.Cubism changed the nature of the relationships between the painted image and reality, and by doing this it placed man in a position which he had never been in before.He submits himself totally to the experience at hand. But in the case of a painting people have to understand.If only they would realize above all that an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only a trifling bit of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than to plenty of other things which please us in the world, though we can’t explain them.Courbet’s materialism would become mechanical; the force of gravity, which gave such dignity to his subjects, would become oppressive and literal.Cézanne’s dialectic would become more and more disembodied and its harmony would be obtained at the price of physical indifference. Most painting in the world now is either banally and mechanically naturalistic or else abstract.Courbet had tried to open the window and climb out. The room became part of the landscape, the viewer part of the view.This then was the revolutionary inheritance that the nineteenth century bequeathed to the twentieth: the materialism of Courbet and the dialectic of Cézanne. Followed up separately, each would lead to a cul-de-sac.


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