Introduction have impacted art in iconic way which can

 

Introduction

In this essay I
will be exploring the quote ‘To create one must first question everything’ and
in relation to that how two art movements had its differences and similarities
and, yet it holds true to its beliefs, values and principles to create a
distinct style. Many of the famous artists and architects have tried to teach us
for many years is to not once underrate the power of design.

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The quote above are
the words of an Irish architect and modernist designer Eileen Grey. She was a
prominent figure in modern architecture during the 20th Century. Eileen
Gray began her career as lacquer artist, then a furniture designer and finally
as an architect at which the industry was lead mostly by male designers who
were members of different movements such as De Stijl. But she remained
independent during this period (Espegel, C, 2007). She was known as ‘mother of
modernism’ during late 1920’s and early 1930’s when she designed some of her best-known
furniture designs. (Barlex, D, 2007, p50) She was neglected for most of her
career and is now regarded as one of the most influential architect and
furniture designers in early 20th Century. Her works inspired many
artists which later inspired Modernism and Art Decco. (Barlex, D, 2007). Gray was the model of the self-made architect. In her words
she said “I started really by myself, sort of making plans of buildings”(MacCarthy,
2005). Her architecture grown without the training or the custom of the large
office.

To understand the
meaning and background behind this quote I have chosen two modernist art
movements Bauhaus and Cubism. These two art movements have impacted art in
iconic way which can be reflected still now. There are two examples for each of
these art forms. In Bauhaus art movement I will be focusing on Bauhaus Dessau and
how it influenced in shaping the modernist environment. While in Cubism I will
be focusing on a painting by world famous painter Pablo Picasso and one of his
iconic painting during his African Period.

i) Bauhaus Building,
Dessau – Bauhaus Art Movement

 

 

 “The ultimate aim of all creative activity is
the building” Whitford (1993, p.38) The above quote is by Walter Gropius in ‘The
Bauhaus Manifesto’. The word Bauhaus, loosely translated from German, mean
House of Construction, or School of Building. The Bauhaus art school was
founded in 1919 in the city of Weimar by German architect Walter Gropius
(1883–1969). The Bauhaus building was commissioned by the city of Dessau, a
former municipality and currently a town in Germany. The building construction
was begun in autumn 1925, completed within one year and opened in December
1926. The entire building occupies an area of about 28,300 square feet, the volume
is roughly 1,15,000 cubic feet. The furnishing cost of the building was around
126,200 marks. While the total cost counted to 902,500 marks which is
approximately $230,000.00, which is roughly around twenty cents per cubic foot.
Gropius et al. (1999).

The
building is consisted of –

a) Studio
Wing

b)
Auditorium, stage and dining hall.

c)
Laboratory Workshop

d) Bridge
(Administration Offices)

e) Technical
School

 

Bauhaus
building in Dessau has spectacular features which makes it unique with a futuristic
message from the past. Some of them are of suspended glass facades, exposed
steel gridding and asymmetrical layout, with the three-wing complex makes it
modern during this time while when it was completed in 1926, it was downright
alien concept. (Wilder,C, 2016) Bauhaus Building – found
the perfect atmosphere for designing models for engineering mass production.

The
main objective of Bauhaus was a radical idea: to reinvent the physical world to
reflect the unity of all the arts. Gropius has described this vision for a blending
of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a
utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a
single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that
would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful
objects appropriate to this new system of living.

 

 

In Bauhaus
manifesto Walter has stated the decoration building was once the honourable purpose
of the fine arts, and the fine arts which was essential for great architecture,
but today they merely exist and are in complete separation where they can be
rescued only by mindful support and relationship of all craftsmen. Architects, sculptors
and painters must come forward and understand the compound character of a
building together as an object and its various fragments. Whitford (1993)

During
twentieth century architectural movements have produced many iconic landmarks
buildings with much historical significance which is still relevant and
discussed up on and while further examining, one can gain more understandings
into modernism of mid twentieth century. In the book twentieth century classics
– Architecture Gropius et al. (1999) among Bauhaus Dessau other two
Architectural marvels namely Unite d’Habitation, Marseilles and Salk Institute,
LA Jolla, California are further explored in-depth. These three buildings have
the same mission and a sense of urgency that modernism wanted to convey. The
artists with an inclination for Bauhaus are called “Master of Form”.
(Architects and Designers, 2016) Bauhaus building as it is known was started
building during the autumn of 1925 and completed in 1926. The Bauhaus intends
to train architects, sculptors and painters of all level of achievement and
ability as thorough craftsmen or self-determining creative artists, and to find
a working community of outstanding artist craftsmen and students who knows to create
and give spiritual accord to buildings in their entirety from building their
basic construction to their merging finishing, decoration and furnishing. Whitford
(1993)

Its
vital objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to
reflect the unity of all the arts. One of the distinct feature of this building it expresses the
modernist style while rejecting symmetry and frontispiece façade. (The Museum
of Modern Art, 1975, p. 100). Walter
Gropius explained this
vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919),
which defined a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and
painting into a single creative expression. (The Bauhaus Movement, 2016)

 

Along with
his other works, one fine example of Walter Gropius marvellous design was of the
Fagus shoe-last factory, Alfred-an der- Leine, 1911, it was designed with Adolf
Meyer. It was one of the earliest modern industrial buildings during that period.
(Whitford,F, 1993) To build Bauhaus Dessau building Walter Gropius may have
took inspiration from the design of Fagus shoe factory as we examine further
into these two iconic structures. As both buildings are used for different purposes,
main entrance and window area of these two looks very similar even they are
placed both in different direction. The main difference is that the Fagus
shoe-last factory has the presence of chimney and warehouse next to it, while Bauhaus
building doesn’t have it. Gropius (1919) has stated earlier that they wanted to create a purely organic structure, boldly originating its inner laws, free of fabrications or ornamentation. Thus, we can see the buildings he and his students designed
mostly have followed this notion.

The reason
why I chose Bauhaus Dessau building
architecture as the prime example for this essay is because it qualifies as one
of the earliest modernist architecture while rejecting many of the usual
techniques in that time to construct a building. It was this design of Walter Gropius
which changed the architecture scene around that time and paved a way to modern
architecture which we are used to now.

  

 

ii) Brick
Factory at Tortosa – Cubism Art Movement

 

Cubism is
an avant-garde (boundary pushing) art movement which most often considered to
be the pivotal art movement during the 20th Century (Antliff, 2001,
P.7) One of the
primary influence that led to Cubism was the representation of
three-dimensional form in the late works of Paul Cézanne. Cubist painters rejected the old practice of
art copying nature and tested techniques of perspective and modelling. It later
led to many other art movements such as futurism, dada, Art Deco to name a few.
During 1907 and 1909 was the early period of cubist movement with the context
of primitivist modernism which was later embraced by future cubists and
avant-gardists. (Antliff, 2001). Almost all the cubists express concepts of the
primitive in various b different ways

Regarding
cubism Picasso once said –

“When
we discovered Cubism, we did not have the aim of discovering Cubism. We only
wanted to express what was in us. The goal I proposed myself in making cubism?
To paint and nothing more, with a method linked only to my thought, Neither the
good nor the true; neither the useful nor the useless.” – (Piccasso,nd)

 During Picasso’s
African period, in 1909 he painted Brick Factory at Tortosa (L’Usine, Horta de
Ebro) which is an Oil on canvas painting with dimensions of 62 cm x 51 cm. It
is now located in The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. It’s
considered as Proto cubist work of Picasso. While looking at the picture itself
you can find it looks really cubist with little cubes forming into different
shapes. At first you will notice its location is on a hilltop, dry terrains
with no grass from which we understand it’s on a dry land. While examining
other shapes you can see a chimney, factory and small buildings next to it,
along with some palm trees. One of the striking feature of this painting is all
the cubes are interconnected as there is little or no gap at all. This method
of painting was started by Picasso and Cézanne, but it was Cézanne who started
before him in interlocking these cubes. It makes the viewer feel that the
colours in each cube moves into each other forming into different shape such as
a house, shop factory etc. which makes it an optical phenomenon. Further
exploring, you will notice that the reflections and shadows near the entrance
door at the factory are as solid as the colour of the main objects. (Smarthistory.
art, history, conversation, 2009)

Factory at Horto De
Ebro (Brick Factory at Tortosa) again draws greatly from Cézanne both in colour
and form. One of the most noticeable distinguishing is however the way in which
Picasso has successfully handle the topographical features of the landscape.
The chimney that look in the background is, in fact, nowhere evident in Horta.
Rather it signifies a chimney used for burning olive waste, situated away from
the village, Similarly, Picasso has encompassed palm trees in this work, though
no such trees grew in or near the village. Picasso has simply introduced these objects
to serve the compositional structure of the work.

 

 

Further int to Piccasso’s painting there is another
painting worth looking into which has similar 
attributes of Brick Factory at Tortosa (1909), that is of Georges Braqu’s Viaduct at L’Estaque (1908). This
painting features a bridge and few houses surrounded by trees set in a cloudy
day. It was painted just after Cézanne died, Braque went down to standard in almost
a kind of homage and began just to work over Cézanne style in his late
paintings. Analytic cubism was the main technique used in this particular
painting. Analytic Cubism
was characterized by analysing objects into components and, most importantly
for this piece of art, in lieu of numerous viewpoints at once. You can
see viaduct in many of Cézanne’s early works. It has also the same pallet and the
hatching brushwork that has featured in many of Cézanne’s paintings.  The buildings in the foreground seem to in a
way, crest up and back, so that the viaduct in background and the houses. It
feels like there’s no middle ground and there are rectangles and triangles shapes
without any circular shape. The colours are very much the colours of analytic
cubism, grey’s and brown. (Smarthistory. art, history, conversation, 2011)  If you look further closely into the painting,
you can see few subtle undertones which makes the viewer the puzzled which is
also in a way an optical phenomenon which was previously mentioned in Picasso’s
Brick
Factory at Tortosa.

While
Bauhaus and Cubism may have its similarities and differences but when I look
into my personal works, I think there are few elements of these art movements that
have influenced me,  As I work in
multimedia and graphics I have done my works primarily in 3d visualization, along
with graphic design. In this 3d art work my client asked me to have design an interior
of car show room by keeping it simple, with a modern style as they wanted to
launch their latest model car into the market that year. The influence of Bauhaus
can be seen on this particular work as it has followed the basic thoughts like free of fabrications or ornamentation
making it simplistic. While
most of the other companies had followed a different approach during that time.

 

 

 

Conclusion

The similarities and
differences between Bauhaus Dessau and Brick
Factory at Tortosa are very striking, as one can observe both structures are in
different forms, one is an actual building and other is a fictional painting which
are conceived by well architect and artist. Both has their own unique purpose
for this world. Both are admired by many people around the world. One of the
major difference we can notice is where they both are based up on, as
previously mentioned Brick factory at tortosa was based on African primitive
setting and the location he chose was of rural side but covered in some
greenery whereas Bauhaus Dessau building was built in a town centre which
arises the conflict of rural and urban themes. Both have different objectives, one
is to serve the society with a new art school and the other one is of helping industrialize
their rural area, while the other one is a fictional painting., But the message
it conveys is what it matters the most.

In
response to the Eileen gray’s quote ‘To create one must first question
everything’ is very much important in creating a particular artwork, because by
questioning only we find answers and possible solutions which makes an art valuable
and understandable as its mentioned in the two examples I chosen in this essay.
These were all created in early 20th century and after these much year’s
people are still talking about it. Thus, we were able to understand many
distinct features of Bauhaus and Cubism which is why this quote is still relevant
today.