Use of Photography in Non Representational Art

Some History

Perspective had been used in paintings since the Renaissance to represent space.

Early 1900, Cubists opened forms and objects to let space go through, they flattened scenes and blent background and foreground.

Picasso . Demoiselles d Avignon 1908

Of course , 1905 and Einstein theory of relativity comes also in mind. The revolution in science was there : Space and Time is one and the same thing!

From the first phase of Analytic Cubism to the later Synthetic Cubists, new materials were added, piece of newspaper, fabrics and such. A splattered and collaged word with a meaning difficult to grasp, was now reflective of a world collapsing thru the first World War.

WW1 ending … those new trends extended to architecture, music, litterature. 

Cubism paved the way for non-representational art. Non representational art or Abstract art  indicate a departure from reality in the depiction of imagery.  Piet Mondrian, totally abstracted representation to explore thru use of the grid, abstract system of signs, and shallow space.


Pietr Mondrian Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930


Guernica Picasso 1937

And this is when the surrealist movement took shape, we will come back to surrealism in further blogs.



Photography and abstraction..

As a simple way to snap the representation of a scene, object or else in a moment, photography is before all, a very ‘traditional’ way of depicting what IS. Automatically the lens will capture a depth and a perspective and we are back to reality. To integrate cubism and abstract art, you would have to play with lights and shadows, integrate shapes in your photos. 

Lamp shades 1920

But to really depict a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world new techniques need to be added…

Computer art and the new resurgence of abstraction

The 2000s and pictures turn digital. This ability to use photography as clay open suddenly the door to new abstractions.

Of course image can be simply manipulated to create a different reality, the challenge that future generation will have to face in which you don t know if a representation is true or false anymore.. but does true even make sense…

But also as we loop back in space time  to the early 1900… from pointillism to pixels and from analytic cubism to digital collage… we can now really reinvent abstract art thru photography and challenge our brain that will extract new meanings from light, shadows and single instant photos

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