Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Venice: Correr Museum - Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City.


Venice: Correr Museum - Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City. At the Correr Museum, until June 2nd, the exhibition, Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City, curated by Anna Vallye with the scientific direction of Gabriella Belli and Timothy Rub, director of the PMA in Philadelphia and with an exhibition project by Daniela Ferretti.  The exhibition with the theme linked to the modern city portrays Fernand Leger and his extraordinary career within the European artistic avant-garde On show are his work for theatre design and advertising, sets for theatre and cinema, and also explores the relationships between his own works and that of other exponents of this fruitful avant-garde season, like Duchamp, Picabia, Robert Delaunay, El Lissitzky, Mondrian, Le Corbusier.
Above: The outstanding work La Ville, by Fernand Léger (oil on canvas), a painting that led the way to the most experimental and Cubist/Futurist experimentation of his production. Painted in 1919 on his return to Paris after serving at the Front during the First World War, this large picture became a manifesto of painting dedicated to the representation of the contemporary city. The subject of the painting is the city and its frenetic activity, its architecture of Cubo-Futurist assemblages, and its inhabitants: mechanical, almost robotic men, harmoniously integrated into the dynamism of the new “urban machine.

Correr Museum: Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City.   Above: Francis Picabia  - Project for the curtain design for the Relache Ballet (show cancelled), 1924, graphite, watercolor and ink on paper.
Below: Francis Picabia - Relache: against all  the dance academicians, n. 50/51. November/Dicember,1924 Paris.

Correr Museum: Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City.  Fernand Leger – Mural Composition, 1926, oil on canvas.

“If the pictorial expression has changed, it is because modern life has requested it…The view from the window of the railway carriage and car, combined with the speed, alter the usual appearance of things. A modern man registers a hundred times more sensory impressions than an 18th-century artist…The compression of the modern framework, its variety, its decomposition of forms are the result of all this. “
Fernand Leger, 1914

Correr Museum: Leger 1910-1930 - A Vision of the Contemporary City.  Still from the mute B/W film Ballet Mecanique, 1924, 16 mins. Leger’s only film, Mechanical Ballet, was created with American film director Dudley Murphy with contributions from Man Ray.  It has no narrative, consisting instead of a rhythmic interplay of commonplace objects viewed in close-up and through prismatic lenses.  This film is leger’s statement on cinema’s power to transform ordinary things into a lyrical spectacle.  Actors and plotlines were irrelevant, as the power of cinema rested solely on its ability to render the world as an animate “beautiful image.”  As such, film became a fine art, rivaling painting and poetry.  Leger later used imagery from Ballet Mecanique in some paintings.
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