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By Hal Foster

How you can think not just a brand new paintings or structure yet a brand new self or topic equivalent to them? In Prosthetic Gods, Hal Foster explores this question in the course of the works and writings of such key modernists as Gauguin and Picasso, F. T. Marinetti and Wyndham Lewis, Adolf bogs and Max Ernst. those varied figures have been all eager about fictions of starting place, both primordial and tribal or futuristic and technological. during this approach, Foster argues, varieties got here to dominate modernist paintings specifically others: the primitive and the computing device. Foster starts with the primitivist fantasies of Gauguin and Picasso, which he examines throughout the Freudian lens of the primal scene. He then turns to the purist obsessions of the Viennese architect bogs, who abhorred all issues primitive. subsequent Foster considers the technophilic topics propounded by way of the futurist Marinetti and the vorticist Lewis. those "new egos" are extra contrasted with the "bachelor machines" proposed by way of the dadaist Ernst. Foster additionally explores extrapolations from the paintings of the mentally ailing within the aesthetic versions of Ernst, Paul Klee, and Jean Dubuffet, in addition to manipulations of the feminine physique within the surrealist images of Brassai, guy Ray, and Hans Bellmer. ultimately, he examines the impulse to dissolve the conventions of paintings altogether within the drip work of Jackson Pollock, the scatter items of Robert Morris, and the earthworks of Robert Smithson, and strains the evocation of misplaced items of wish in sculptural paintings from Marcel Duchamp and Alberto Giacometti to Robert Gober. even though its name is drawn from Freud, Prosthetic Gods doesn't impose psychoanalytic concept on modernist paintings; particularly, it units the 2 into severe relation and scans the larger old box that they proportion.

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Is the ambivalence of the primitivist encounter immanent in the image, activated in its address, or both? At least one point seems clear: this ambivalence exceeds the individual psyche of the primitivist artist. In fact, it is already inscribed in the two principal traditions out of which such artists work: avant-garde representations of the nude and exoticist representations of the other (especially in Orientalist and japoniste painting). Consider first the avant-garde nude, which Olympia (1863; fig.

Douard Manet, Olympia, 1863. Oil on canvas, 51 3⁄8 × 74 3⁄4 in. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, New York. 13 Prosthetic Gods primitivist modernists, the image of the primitive-prostitute was filtered through diverse styles, and it provoked such different temperaments as the moderate Matisse in his Blue Nude (Memories of Biskra, 1907; fig. 7), whose hips are rotated in a way that protrudes her buttocks excessively, and the theatrical Kirchner in his Girl under a Japanese Umbrella (c.

Toe toe” (“It’s cold”), he said to me. ” I replied, and that negation, answering my earlier desire, resounded in the mountain like a sharp echo. I plunged eagerly into the bush, which had become increasingly wild; the child continued on his way, with that limpid gaze. He hadn’t understood a thing;I alone bore the burden of an evil thought, an entire civilization had preceded and had instructed me in it. We reached our goal. . Several trees (rosewood) spread their enormous boughs. The two of us, both savages, began to chop at a magnificent tree.

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