Sat, Oct 26, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Bilingual Arts: The Cubist simultaneity
雙語藝術:立體派重疊的時空

Photo 1: Football Players, Albert Gleizes, 1912-13. Oil on canvas. 225.4cm × 183cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, US.
圖一:阿爾伯特‧格列茲。《足球運動員》。一九一二~一三年。畫布油畫。二二五‧四×一八三公分。美國華盛頓國家藝廊藏。

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
照片:維基共享資源

In the words of art critic John Berger, Cubism is the most significant revolution in art since the Renaissance. This is no exaggeration.

Linear perspective, which matured during the Renaissance and developed with the help of geometry, allowed humans for the first time in history to render precisely what we see with our eyes onto a two-dimensional surface. The trompe-l’oeil illusion can make the depicted as tangible and the space as real as if we could just walk into it.

In this realistic pictorial tradition that has long been taken for granted, paintings like Football Players (photo 1) might seem unimaginable and confusing. (We can start by finding out how many people are depicted in this picture.) In this seemingly chaotic picture by Albert Gleizes (1881-1953), a major figure of the Cubist movement, we can spot a player in blue top running with a rugby football. The player on the left grabs the shoulder of another player, as if trying to block his attack, while another player in the lower left corner falls on the green turf. At the top right of the picture you can see the spectators. Watching the fierce attack and defense in the field, we can almost hear the crowd cheering.

In a single picture, we can see a series of actions, an exciting game full of twists and turns — and all these are supposed to be unfolded in time.

At the top of the screen, we see houses along a road, a bridge, and something like white clouds or mist on the horizon. These things are supposed to be part of the background, but they are not presented with distance and depth of field that could have been created via linear perspective (photo 2, 3). Instead, the “background” seems to be flattened like a pattern and placed on the same layer as the foreground and subjects.

Football Players demonstrates the mobile perspective and the principle of simultaneity proposed in the On Cubism, written in 1912 by Gleizes and Jean Metzinger (1883-1956). It is not a picture captured in a single moment from a single perspective — like a photograph does — but a combination of different aspects of things in constant movement.

Scrolls, a Chinese painting format, are also good at dealing with sequential time and space. The painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a well-known example (see Bilingual Arts on March 25, 2017). Qingming is like a long strip of film that consists of sequential scenes, and the viewer can decide where their gaze lingers. However, Football Players is like a messy pile of film, in which we have no choice but to view scenes from a different time and space at the same time.

Ever since the proto-cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) (photo 4), by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and the coining of the term Cubism in 1911, the movement has continued to change the way we see the world.

(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)

藝評家約翰.伯格曾說,立體派是自文藝復興以來最重要的藝術革命。此話並不為過。

文藝復興時期藉助幾何學所發展成熟的線性透視,讓人類首次能夠在平面上建構出如肉眼所見的空間,這種如真的幻覺效果,讓觀者彷彿身在其中。

在線性透視成為理所當然的傳統後,出現了像《足球運動員》【圖一】這樣的畫面,的確令人迷惘。(我們可以先試著找找看,圖中到底有幾個人。)立體派大將格列茲(一八八一~一九五三)這看似紛亂的畫面中,穿藍衣的球員抱著橄欖球奔跑,左方的球員抓著另一人肩膀,似正阻止他進攻,畫面左下角另一球員跌倒在綠色草皮上。畫面右上方則可見到觀眾──隨著場內激烈的攻防,我們彷彿可以聽到場外觀眾的喧騰。

在這單單一個畫面,我們可以看到一連串動作、一場扣人心弦的比賽。而這些動作,原本是在時間中展開的。

在畫面上方可見沿路的房屋、一座橋,以及似天邊雲朵的白霧。這些屬於背景的事物,卻失去了原本可藉由線性透視法創造出的景深【圖二、三】,像圖案般平平地貼上畫面,使得背景與前景(人)像是在同一層表面上。

《足球運動員》體現出《立體派宣言》(一九一二年由格列茲與梅金傑所撰寫)所闡釋的移動視角和同時性原則,它所呈現出的,並非如照片般在單一時間、由單一視角所捕捉的畫面,而是事物在不斷運行中不同面向的組合。

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