THE GREAT MODERNISTS. A REVOLUTION IN THE ARTS
At the dawn of the 20th centuries, every year brought new breakthroughs, such as gramophones, cinemas, typewriters, electricity, airplanes, telephones, X-rays. New things made people euphoric about new possibilities, but there was some anxiety along with this. And so, we see the appearance of distance between reality and the way it is painted.
The main problem was not about the painted matter, but about the painting method (not the what but the how). The artist does not set out to render a painting of sometime that looks as close to reality as possible. Instead, the main task is to focus the viewer’s attention through spots and lines arranged in a certain way. Thus, Paul Signac turns everything he sees into a net made of myriads light points. The forms in paintings by Paul Gauguin are a combination of color points that bring us from the large industrial cities to the source-point of civilization; the images of Gustav Klimt hide behind oriental splendor. Wassily Kandinsky applies schematics to derive free associations. Generally, modernist paintings are enigmatic, forming a kind of labyrinth to the sight. By using open outlines, broken lines, vague contours, unexpected contrasts and incoherent compositions, modernism offers an inexhaustible source of meanings where the tradition sees only chaos and absurdity.
Being exquisite and enigmatic, the modernist paintings are targeted at people who are comfortable with cinema and mass media, at people who are used to an endless flow of visual data, who know how to understand images and who are sensitive to purely aesthetic effects. A hundred years ago, the paintings by modernists acted as nunciate of the new hi-tech future and this is why these paintings find a new life through digital technologies so easily.