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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Fernand Léger and simplicity

Fernand Léger (1881-1955) was a French artist best known for his contributions to cubism and pop art. Wikipedia says,


"In his early works he created a personal form of cubism (known as 'tubism') which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art." (Wikipedia: Fernand Léger, 7.30.21 UTC 19:31)


Philosopher Albert Camus said,


"It is curious to note that the most intellectual kind of painting, the one that tries to reduce reality to its essential elements, is ultimately but a visual delight. All it has kept of the world is its color. This is apparent particularly in Leger." (Absurd Creation, 1942)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Leger.


Abstract art


"[Abstract art] is a true, incorruptible purism... It is a religion that cannot be argued about. It has its saints, its disciples and its heretics. Modern life with its speed and tumult, dynamic and full of contrasts, beats furiously against this light, luminous, delicate structure, which emerges coldly from the chaos." (Quoted in Abstract Painting by Michel Seuphor)




"The love of simplicity, precision and clarity, is totally Western. Today's rational plastic form does not come from the Mediterranean or the Orient; it comes from the North [of France]. The North, younger, quicker less subtle, has seen straight to the heart of the new problem of construction that is posed by modern life." (Actualites, 1928)


"The essential is the object. Error consists in forgetting that grain, cotton, wool are vital objects and in being interested in them only because of their value in gold, their speculative value." (Quoted by John Becker Gallery, 1933)


"A kind of painting that is realistic in the highest sense is beginning to appear, and it is here today... The advertising billboard, dictated by modern commercial needs, that brutally cuts across a landscape... it topples the whole sentimental literary concept and announces the advent of plastic contrast." (Functions of Paining, 1914)




"These new means [in modern film] have given us a new mentality. We want to see clearly, we want to understand mechanism, functions, motors, down to their subtlest details." (Actualites, 1928)


"I myself have employed the close-up, which is the cinema's only real invention. The fragment of the object has als been of use to me; by isolating it you personalize it. All this work has led me to regard the phenomenon of objectivity as a new and highly contemporary value in itself." (Autour de Ballet Mechanique, 1988)




"The mural artist is concerned with bringing to life dead surfaces by the application of color." (Revival of Mural Art, 1937)