“Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels.”
The video’s about 6 minutes long. Included is a pretty brief definition of modernism, but which highlights some of what I think makes Goya so accessible:
“…modernism is an artistic movement which follows the thought of humans being able to change their environment with science, technology and knowledge. In short modernism results in the idea that we, as artists and as humans, should reject tradition…”
Now, there’s a lot to dispute in such a definition…you mean reject religious tradition…all tradition? Surely you want painters to learn how to paint, and understand the technique and mechanics of their craft. How much of modernism would be a product of/reaction to the Enlightenment?
How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion (was he most after freeing art from a few thousand years of Christianity, monarchy and aristocracy…something deeper?), at least with regard to Camille Paglia. See the comments: Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful
I was lucky enough to see this sculpture a few times at the Fundacio Miro in Barcelona. At the time, I remember thinking “Oh, it’s a comment on women in Spain“: All legs and sensuality and yet these malformed, pitiful, faces rising (or barely perched) on top.
“I know women like that…I remember thinking. It’s better to be an object of male lust than nothing, prostitutes take advantage of this all the time. Spanish machismo and insularity, the triumph of cultural values no matter how arbitrary or foolish, and the native ignorance and poverty of the human lot can clearly produce women like this. Despite my idealism, this is what shall remain long after I’m dead.” And then, rather self-satisfied, I strolled away.
Now, as I look again, I realize I have no idea what this sculpture means. Are those two faces? Strange little breasts? Is that a spigot on top? A man’s head and woman’s head? Aren’t they kind of gender neutral? What was I thinking, anyways?
Something about Miro makes me think he has thought long, judged deeply, and yet the colors are joyful, and there’s just this playfulness and achieved simplicity in his work that invites you right in and never really puts you out.
***It helps to understand how rooted Miro was in Catalonia, the northeast province of Spain with it’s own language, political identification, and identity (possibly troubling for a unified Spain), and with his materials and subjects. MOMA has some background here.
Feel free to highlight my ignorance.