Robert Delaunay's Movement into Pure Painting
Tuesday, November 30, 5:00pm-6:30pm
Cohen Hall 402 (formerly Logan Hall)
Speaker: Gordon Hughes
Art History, Rice University
Tea and cookes at 4:30pm, refreshments afterwards.
By all appearance, Robert Delaunay's 1913 painting, "The First Disk," is unprecedented in its degree of abstraction. But appearance is not only deceiving when it comes to the "Disk," it is precisely what must be moved beyond and pushed past. Committed to a modernist view of ever-increasing pictorial autonomy, "The First Disk" abandons the appearance of representation for the structure of painting. At the same time, and in response to new developments in modern optical science, Delaunay's "Disk" also abandons the appearance of visual content (what we see), for the structure of vision (the physiological and cognitive mechanics of visual perception). These two movements into structure - painting and vision - intersect in surprising ways in the "Disk," particularly when it comes to the question of movement itself. Both accepting and criticizing the claim that internal bodily movements structure our overall experience of vision, Delaunay, in agreement with the philosopher Henri Bergson, conceives of somatic movements as precisely that which allow us to enter into a meaningful, qualitative relation to sensation. Movement, in Delaunay's "The First Disk," allows us to feel vision.