Picasso: Still Life. (1914) . Painted wood and upholstery fringe, 10x18□. Collection Roland Penrose, London

THE LIBERATION OF OBJECTS

L'objet réel ou en trompe-l'oeil est appelé sans doute à jouer un rôle de plus en plus important. Il est le cadre intérieur du tableau et en marque les limites profondes, de même que le cadre en marque les limites extérieures.

GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE31

Art should never be valued according to the speed with which it rushes toward some hypothetical future. The slow, stage-by-stage evolution of cubist form between 1908 and 1915, in fact, may be a measure of the greatness of its artists. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler described cubism as the reconciliation of a conflict between representation and structure.32 Cézanne had canonized the willful deformation and fragmentation of objects and human figures, and had provided the authority to supplant "pictorial composition" by another kind of structural order. Conservative in their choice of subject matter, the cubists nevertheless adapted it to their formal ends willfully and even capriciously.

"Each epoch always has and always needs its oppositions of destruction and construction," Piet Mondrian wrote.33 Modern art and the modern sensibility have developed through a rhythm of metaphoric destructions and reconstructions. It could be said, for example, that the "analytical" phase of cubism (about 1909-1912) constituted -- to use a less ominous term than "destruction" -- a "disassemblage" of

-21-

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The Art of Assemblage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword and Acknowledgments 6
  • Introduction 9
  • The Liberation of Words 13
  • The Liberation of Objects 21
  • The Collage Environment 72
  • The Realism and Poetry of Assemblage 81
  • Attitudes and Issues 87
  • Notes 150
  • Photograph Credits 152
  • Catalogue of the Exhibition 153
  • Assemblange: A Working Bibliography 166
  • Index 174
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