Space and Time in
the Visual Arts. 1880-1930 - brief notes
The lecture will look at artists and designers responses to the fundamental
changes that came about in our attitudes towards Space and Time. Before
1860, Time was considered absolute, that duration was the same to all
individuals with accurate timepieces. Before Charles Lyell's theories
of the vast antiquity of the earth, and Charles Darwin's Origin of the
Species tracing the origin of mankind in the development of killer apes,
life had its certainties. Developments in atomic physics around the
turn of the century similarly eroded the belief in the 'solidity' of
objects. With corresponding interests among most people in the role
of the esoteric often shared by artists, eg spiritualism, table turning,
theosophy, ectoplasmic emanation, how were we to come to terms with
uncertain mass in ambivalent space and set in fluid time?
The Representation of Time;
J.L.David, Napoleon in his Study , c1798.
Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory , 1932.
The presence of the clock face,
W.Hogarth, The Lady's Last Stake , 1758/9.
J.Tenniel, illustration to Through the Looking Glass,
Giorgio de Chrico, The Melancholy of Departure
R.Magritte, Time Transfixed , 1939.
The rationalisation of the new concepts took place in several directions,
1. The influence of C.W..Leadbeater on Kandinsky Munch, Kupka, Mondrian
2. "n"th dimensional thought and non- Euclidean geometry.
3. Associative attempts to render the flux of Space and Time, the influence
of Henri Bergson and the idea of Duree.
1. U.Boccioni, States of Mind, The Farewells, 1911.
2. Boccioni, States of Mind,Those who remain ,1911
3. Picasso, Portrait of Vollard 1909/10
4. Picasso, Ma Jolie , 1911/12
"In effect in our physical world we can know only three dimensions.
It is not that only these three dimensions exist, but that they alone
can be understood by the physical brain. In reality we live in a space
possessing a quantity of dimensions.... We see what only we are susceptible
to see, but there is much more to see." Leadbeater, The Other Side
of Death 1903. The Cubist painters are preoccupied with "new measures
of space, which in the langauge of the modern studios, are designated
by the term fourth dimension." G. Apollinaire New Painting
The geometric theories of Maurice Princet, friend of Metzinger, Gris
and Matisse, Essay on Hyperspace; Princet's influence on Doesburg, the
will to film and the concept of 4th dimensional architecture. Influence
of the hypercube on El Lissitzky
Marcel Duchamp and the New Geometries .
from the two dimensional to the three, by extension three into the fourth.
Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors Even, 1915-1923.
influence of the Square, Kasimir Malevich and the Black Squre,
influence of Edwin A.Abbott, Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions
(see also Of Two Squares )