Erin, for class on Oct 26

Questions about the Francis Picabia piece:

  1. Picabia’s view of machines as “part of human life–perhaps the very soul” (60) and his use of them without regard to their intended uses, or to any uses (65), sounds like the l’art pour l’art philosophy that we read in some theories of the avant-garde. Are Picabia’s paintings l’art pour l’art? Or does his attention to the visualization of the human soul indicate a project with a larger purpose?
  2. Of the things Picabia painted, Naumann writes: “These elements, however, were clearly not envisioned as objective representations, but rather, like visual schematizations, meant more to record the impression–or, in this case, the memory–of a sensuous experience, than the experience itself” (58). Can we use a painting, perhaps Today I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie, as a case study of what Naumann means, and how the memory of an experience is different from the experience itself (since that’s a decently abstract distinction)?

Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia, a potential thesis:

  • “It only remains to be asked (and a very crucial question this is!) in what form it [Dada] would have crystallized if the oppression of men’s bodies and minds in those cruel days had not provoked this explosion of protest, which was no longer a mere break with tradition but a voluntary break with reason, a kind of auto-inoculation of the absurd by the absurd, assuming the unforeseen dimensions of an immanent, inexorable force, born of circumstances” (263.)


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