Chamber Music Chamber: January 2017

Marlene Dietrich, scene photo from "The blue Angel", Theater museum, Vienna.

A few years ago, the author was in her bathroom, preparing to brush her teeth. The face that looked back from the mirror that morning had dark, shadowed eye sockets and shadow-hollowed cheeks. For some reason, that everyday sight started a thought process that day, the results of which follow here.

In the early 1930s, a face appeared on the cinema screen that is still considered one of the faces of the twentieth century: that of Marlene Dietrich. Her first huge success was in Josef von Sternberg’s film "The blue Angel" (1929). But the face she showed in it was not the same one that appeared in Hollywood films from 1930. That Hollywood face that she later said it was "been photographed to death", was not a mood of nature. It was targeted. His special qualities were a perfect and almost unearthly radiant beauty, elegance, mystery, intelligence and seduction. And of course it had a creator – the Austro-American director Josef von Sternberg. Like many other works of art, this creation also had a prehistory.

The talented Jewish director Josef von Sternberg (the "of" was credited to him as an insignificant film in the credits and he kept it from then on) had made several successful films in Hollywood since 1924, including 1928 "His last command" with Emil Jannings in the leading role. Although Jannings was an international star and had received an Oscar for his performance, the advent of sound film in 1929 forced him to leave Hollywood and return to Germany due to his poor English skills, where he could make sound films in his native language. For his very first sound film made in Germany, he wanted the director with whom he did it "Oscar"-Werk had shot and hoped for a similar success, of course.

Sternberg was hired. One subject was fixed: Heinrich Mann’s novel published in 1905 "Professor rubbish", which was implemented rather freely in the film. Now Sternberg started looking for a leading actress. It belongs to the legend of the "Blue angel", that Sternberg searched through photos of all actresses in Germany and watched performances even in the cabaret and on the Tingeltangel (the plot of the film takes place in this milieu), only to find a woman who met his expectations. As you know, Marlene Dietrich ended this search.

Felicien Rops, The Temptation of Saint Anthony,
1878, colored pencil, gouache on paper, 738 x 543 mm,
Bibliotheque Royale Albert II,
Cabinet des Estampes, Brussels.

Until then, Josef von Sternberg had mainly been a silent film director. His films are generally very dense visual structures of light and shadow. With his penchant for painterly values, he earned the nickname "Leonardo of the cinema". "The blue Angel" was only the second sound film he made. In his autobiography, he reflected on the problem of adding a tone to the pictures, which he himself considered meaningful enough. We learn that in his opinion "the problem was keeping the image values ​​and not neglecting them when trying to add tonal values." Sternberg feared that the pictures might prove inferior to the sound. In the next sentence he explains how he imagined maintaining the endangered relationships between image and sound: "Since a good-looking woman is usually given visual values, I took the most beautiful one I could find."

The formula was simple but effective. It applied to the" Blue angel", who turned from the planned Emil Jannings into a surprising Marlene Dietrich film while filming, but even more so for the further collaboration between the director and his main actress. Sternberg got Marlene Dietrich a contract with the Paramount film company in Hollywood. In the States, he began tweaking her appearance until the perfect picture emerged, of which her legend still lives today. Sternberg’s film-theoretical considerations initiated a recipe for success that benefited not only the director and his main actress in a total of seven films, but also Paramount and subsequently the entire Hollywood film industry for several decades.

What the "Blue angel" As far as Sternberg was concerned, it was his "Lola-Lola" had to be beautiful, not done alone. His ideas were much more precise. Sternberg had a model in mind, as the Belgian symbolist Felicien Rops had drawn, and confirmed that he had found exactly the face he was looking for with Marlene Dietrich. Unfortunately we do not find out which drawing of Rops he meant exactly. Maybe it was "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" from 1878. It shows the strong, built, lush woman type characteristic of Rops with a flowering, sensual, smiling face and blond curls. The same type of woman was embodied by Marlene Dietrich in "The blue Angel". In order to underline the factor of opulence in the film, the appearances of "Lola-Lola" on the stage of the variety show there were always five or six much more rounded colleagues sitting behind her in a semicircle. The less graceful women underline the beauty of the main character, an effect that Sternberg has certainly taken into account.

Marlene Dietrich, role portrait,
Theater museum, Vienna.

But there are more references between the "Temptation of Saint Anthony" of Rops and the stage appearances of the "Lola-Lola" in the "Blue angel", the fictional variety show that gave the film its title. The naked beauty displaces Christ from the cross instead of the traditional Christian inscription "INRI" stands "EROS". Winged beings surround them, half putti, half skeletons. The devil peeps out from behind her. The figure of the "Lola-Lola" is not naked, but is attractively lightly dressed. It similarly represents seduction by the female body. As a Tingeltangel singer, she becomes a temptation for a high school teacher that leads him to forget the principles that had previously determined his life. Originally, you can also find in the stage design of the "Blue angel" grotesquely distorted putti. Felicien Rop’s creations may also have been exemplary for the implementation of the chaotic mess on and behind the Tingeltangelbühne. Sternberg only needed to transpose his type of woman and composition principle into the vulgar Berlin milieu of the 1920s. This should not have been difficult for him, because he felt strongly reminded of the culture of the Black Romanticism and Décadence in Berlin at the time: "Seeing Berlin in 1929 meant summoning the ghosts of Goya and Beardsley, Baudelaire and Huysmans", he remembered.

As another reference, Sternberg names the female figures Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whom he was reminded of by the sight that Dietrich offered from behind. Since he does not comment on this comparison, it can only be speculated as to what similarity Sternberg found between the protagonists of Parisian nightlife and Marlene Dietrich, especially considering the fact that Toulouse-Lautrec tended to depict good-looking women as caricatures. Since Sternberg was declared to be looking for beauty, it must have been something else. Maybe he saw Marlenes "Toulouse-Lautrec qualities" Realized less by physical characteristics than by their wicked bohemian habit and the associated presentation and gestures. After all, the roles in which Marlene Dietrich appeared in Berlin cabarets demanded a vulgarity, as is well known from Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrayals of singers, dancers and prostitutes.

Theda Bara, Publicity Photo for "Salome", 1918.

After this "Blue angel" followed the so-called "modification" Marlene Dietrich: Hollywood’s ideals of beauty were different from those in Europe. A few years earlier, Greta Garbo had had to be told by Louis B. Mayer of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) production company that the Americans didn’t like fat women. Arrived in Hollywood, the chubby Garbo had to lose weight. In 1930, when Marlene Dietrich got there, Greta Garbo was already the female star by which everyone else was measured. Since the – unfortunately lost today – feature film "The Divine Woman" from 1927 it bore the epithet" The divine" .

The Garbo worked for MGM. Every other American film company tried its best to get an actress under contract who would do it with "divine" record, yes, maybe she could even outdo them. The interests of Paramount, the film company Sternberg worked for, met with those of the director. Both were looking for an exceptionally beautiful woman, each for their own purpose. Marlene Dietrich seemed to be the right one for the film company for several reasons. First, it was somewhat like the Garbo. Secondly, she came from Europe like the Swedish star, was educated and intelligent and had been in "Blue angel" proved that she was able to portray a credible femme fatale in the twenties, the role of Garbo: and as femme fatale Marlene Dietrich was also to appear in her upcoming films. She should be the more beautiful, more glamorous garbo.

Was the "Lola-Lola" in the "Blue angel" Essentially resulting from the transposition of the young seducers from Felicien Rops’ work into the Berlin bohemian of the 1920s, Marlene Dietrich now had to go to a level comparable to the role subject of Garbo. It was all vulgar that made the role of the success "Lola-Lola" had contributed to shedding and transforming into an ethereal, unearthly, almost unreal creature. To achieve that, Marlene Dietrich also had to lose 15 kilos. Sternberg sent them to various beauty salons. He supervised the new make-up, which a Paramount makeup artist developed especially for Marlene Dietrich: the eyebrows were plucked and painted higher and differently, the upper eyelashes extended and darkened. A white line was applied to the lower eyelid so that the eyes looked larger. The somewhat unsightly nose was visually straightened with a silver line on the bridge of the nose, which reflected the light.

Franz von Stuck, Die Sünde, 1893, oil on
Canvas, 95 x 59.7 cm,
Bavarian State Painting Collections,
Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

The slimming down affected the proportions of the face: it became narrower, which made the cheekbones appear higher. In order to intensify the effect of the hollow cheeks, it is said that four molars were pulled. She had to take speaking lessons and rehearse her gait, her posture and even her facial expression. Then photos were taken in which the whole art of lighting accomplished what was still to be accomplished: the dark blonde hair was illuminated from behind so that it shimmered brightly. A spotlight came from above and created fine shadows in the eye sockets and under the cheekbones, which gave the face more plastic delicacy? Like a virtual sculptor, Sternberg turned Marlene Dietrich’s new face literally out of nature’s and created a dream image that only existed in film and photo in this perfect form.

Sternberg, who wandered in art history "Leonardo of the cinema", may have copied the painting from the Leonardo. The two versions of the are two clear examples "Madonna in the rock grotto" in the Louvre and in the National Gallery in London, where the Madonna and beyond and the androgynous beauty of the angel are highlighted by lighting from above. This treatment of light and shadow emphasizes the cheekbones, while the lower jaw remains shaded.

Shadow arches form under the round arched eyebrows, the same thing happens under the eyelashes. The essential features of the face, forehead, eyelids, cheeks, nose and chin emerge as if modeled plastically, but appear delicate and fine due to the numerous, structured shadows. Sternberg, who was an extremely busy museum visitor in his youth, was not only guided by this very effective way of illuminating a beautiful, even face. He must also have been influenced by the ideal image of Leonardo’s angels. This is confirmed by numerous photos taken by Marlene Dietrich over the years. They show how Sternberg, who also asserted his ideas towards the photographers, emphasized almost the same parts of Dietrich’s face that were also emphasized by Leonardo. Even Dietrich’s specially removed and repainted eyebrows followed the example of the Leonardo faces in most cases. There was only one difference between the modern creation and the old one: The face of Dietrich had a clearly emphasized lower jaw: While it was important for an angel to make him look androgynous, the face had to be effeminated, for a woman it was necessary to to achieve the same effect as the opposite tendency.

Gloria Swanson, Publicity Photo for "Stage struck", 1925.

This "new face" was made public through photos. The photos showed the image of a seductive, mysterious woman. Before anyone in the United States saw a meter of film of the new beauty, she was famous. Also in the following six films with Josef von Sternberg "Marocco" (1930), "X27 / Dishonored" (1931), "Shanghai Express" and "The blonde Venus" (1932), "The scarlet empress" (1934) and "The Spanish dancer" (1935) and in numerous other films with other directors, including Ernst Lubitsch, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Orson Wells, this image was further cultivated.

Greta Garbo, the direct model for the "modification" Dietrich had come from Europe about five years earlier and had established himself as a superstar in the field of femme fatale after just a few films. She had also had to undergo a beautification process immediately after her arrival. Hollywood already knew standards for its stars in 1925, which women had to meet. The interventions that Greta Garbo had to endure may have been less than those that Marlene Dietrich later underwent. They existed in the already mentioned "slim down", in the design of a new make-up and a new hairstyle. Assumptions that the Garbo would have undergone one of the common nasal surgeries at the time do not seem credible due to the photos.

In connection with her role model effect on the relaunch of Marlene Dietrich, it is important that Garbo’s styling and image positioning differed somewhat from the types of femme fatale that were common in American film before her. A certain development can be seen within this mythical role subject originally from the literature and art of the 19th century, which conforms to the change in fashion. Her new, comparatively more natural look replaced a fashion that made the actresses look like dolls. Like her reserved acting, it has become so classic that the garbo in her silent films always looks more modern than everything around her.

Gustav Klimt, Judith I, 1901, oil on canvas, 84 x 42 cm,
Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Vienna.

The first actress from "murderous" Women in American film was Theda Bara. In 1914 she shot "A Fool There Was", in which she played a role that only "The Vampire" is called and in which she destroys a family man. The label "vamp" was born. At the same time, the use of such a material shows the seamless transfer of topics from the turn of the century into the popular culture of the decade. According to a legend that Fox’s publicity department spread, the name of Theda Bara is said to be the anagram of "arab death" and the actress herself was the daughter of an Arab sheikh. Even the first vamp in film history, although actually born in Cincinnati, Ohio under the name Theodosia Burr Goodman, was born in this way with a touch of "Strangers and dangerous" surround.

With her appearance, Theda Bara is the exact embodiment of the description of the femme fatale known from the literature of the 19th century. From a visual point of view, she oriented herself accordingly to the representations of this literary type of woman in the painting of symbolism. Her figure-hugging appearance, long, curly hair, full lips and large, heavily made-up eyes allude to the vital seducers in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work. In pictures like "Lady Lilith" (1868) or "Astarte Syriaca" (1877) the visual ancestors of her seductive female figures can be found. However, these have more to do with the conception of the seductress in the work of Franz von Stuck, especially with the "sin", the first version of which was first exhibited in 1893. The partially revealed upper body, which shows the breasts, corresponds to the remarkable freedom of movement in Theda Bara’s costume selection. The snake, which promises to be dangerous and dead, corresponds exactly to the image of this silent film vamp. In addition, snake-shaped jewelry was one of her usual accessories. The fact that Theda Bara was allowed to be plump in American film even in the decade shows how much the ideal of beauty conveyed by Rossetti, Stuck and many other painters of the 19th century helped to determine the start of the femme fatale.

Greta Garbo, scene photo from "The Flesh and the Devil"
with John Gilbert, Film Archive, Vienna.

This very physically stressed type of femme fatale in the silent film experienced an interesting development in the form of the actress Gloria Swanson. She no longer played the exotic. In her films, the liberation of the femme fatale shifted into the luxurious life of a contemporary woman. To a certain extent, however, their appearance can also be traced back to examples from painting. A still photo from the 1925 film "Stage struck" shows Gloria Swanson’s slim upper body, covered with glittering jewels. The head, which is surrounded by a dark curly mane, is slightly raised, the lips are open, and the gaze emerges from lowered, darkly painted lids.

The resulting "bedrooms face" recalls one of the icons of the turn of the century in Vienna – Gustav Klimt’s painting, created in 1901 "Judith I". This is a modern hairdressed woman from the turn of the century in Vienna, dressed in a costume invented by Klimt and decorated with golden ornaments. She wears a pronounced bed face: It conveys the idea of ​​what she should look like in a moment of great sexual pleasure. Klimt shifted the aspect of seduction from the body to the face. Judith’s upper body, although partially exposed, looks more like its attribute. Even more: With the receding of the physical, the whole person gets something intangible. Klimt "Judith I" is – like many of his female figures – beautiful, but unreachable. Until the 1950s, until Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe, this will be the standard face of seduction. In comparison to the more vital Theda Bara, which is based on Stuck’s paintings, the Gloria Swanson, using Gustav Klimt as an example, shows a clear refinement of the seducer’s type on the American canvas. In addition, attempts were made to integrate the myth of the femme fatale of the turn of the century into the life concept of an independent woman of the twenties.

Such a development increased noticeably with the appearance of Greta Garbo. This great actress had made a name for herself in Europe with just two films: Mauritz Stillers "Gösta Berling Saga" (1924) and G. Pabsts "The cheerless alley" (1925) both of them in front of their "modification" show in a Hollywood star and as a really serious actress. They also reveal that certain idiosyncrasies of her acting, which she later recognized in her American films, were pronounced early on. On the other hand, it can be seen from them that the look with which they e.g. in "Flesh and the Devil" (1926), a creation of the MGM star machine was, and if at all, at most indirectly to the director Mauritz Stiller, who in her life played a similar role to a certain extent as Josef von Sternberg for Marlene Dietrich. He had discovered Greta Garbo and brought it to Hollywood. There he wanted to make films with her, but in contrast to the Duo Sternberg-Dietrich nothing came of Stiller’s plan: he had to leave MGM, which remained Garbo.

Gustav Klimt, Sonia Knips, 1898, oil on canvas, 145 x 145 cm,
Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Vienna.

Between 1926 and 1929 Greta Garbo stood in front of the camera for films in which she had to embody fate in an incredibly beautiful, feminine form. The titles were "The Temptress" , "Flesh and the Devil", "Love", "The Divine Woman", "The Mysterious Lady", "Woman of Affaires" , "Wild orchids" or "The Kiss". Greta Garbo is often the woman who does not want to be angry, but who, because of her beauty, falls for all men, while only bringing bad luck to them. In the positioning of the "divine" the replacement of the seductive effect on the body that began with her predecessors in American silent film continues:

No femme fatale before Garbo was so immaterial. Although her slim figure is in well-cut clothes and she knows how to move gracefully in it, the erotic, magical effect is almost exclusively on the face. Thus Garbo’s portrayal of the seductress is again very close to Gustav Klimt’s female figures like that "Judith I", their erotic effect also mainly from that already mentioned above "bedrooms face" goes out even though you can see a bare chest.

Three years before "Judith I", In 1898, Klimt had painted a portrait of a woman that his contemporaries hailed as the essence of the new image of women. The "Portrait of Sonja Knips" was shown in Vienna in 1898 and 1900 at the Paris World’s Fair – so one can speak of an international reputation. This image anticipates the immateriality that Garbo demonstrated from film to film in the twenties. The light pink dress made of a cloud of lightest fabric covers almost the whole body. Only the hands and face remain free. What you can guess from the body due to the slim silhouette is slim and graceful. In this light, fragrant cloud, it is not easy to imagine an earthly body that is subject to gravity. Rather, the picture gives the impression of portraying a fairy or princess from a fairy tale than a real, living woman. The exotic flowers behind her head complement the image statement of delicate, delicate and extraordinary beauty.

Fernand Khnopff, The Tenderness of the Sphinx, 1896, oil on canvas, 50 x 150 cm,
Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels.

The Garbo image looked similar. The MGM costume designers liked to put them in very narrow dresses made of several layers of transparent fabric, from whose high collars Garbo’s head protruded like a precious flower. The camera and her game also emphasized the face rather than the body. Roland Barthes also dedicates his research on everyday myths to the face of the Garbo, not her whole person. He also compares this brightly painted face with a mass of both vulnerable and compact snow, "in which alone the eyes – black like strange flesh, but not expressive at all – two slightly trembling injuries" are.

The erotic component on this face is more pronounced than in the portrait of the Sonja Knips, but less offensive than in Klimts "Judith I". Garbo sometimes mimics their facial expression, but it doesn’t produce the same effect. This behavior of the erotic expression of the Garbo finds its role models much more in the ????????????uvre by Fernand Khnopff. The work created in 1896 "The tenderness of the sphinx" shows the sphinx of the ancient saga as a hybrid of a leopard body and a beautiful woman’s head that closes its cheek with closed eyes to that of its conqueror Oedipus. The viewer senses the danger in which the young man is floating, being torn apart by the predator at any moment. For the time being, however, it lazily rests and enjoys the closeness of its potential victim. However, it is not clear who threatens whom or who will defeat whom.

Clarence Sinclair Bull, Marlene Dietrich,
1931, studio portrait.

This clearly shows the combination of beauty, eros and danger. The picture shows the model of seduction with which Garbo fascinated her audience in the twenties: elegant, refined, based on a tense slowness, tender and dangerous at the same time. Despite the spectacular animal body, interest is concentrated on the finely drawn, youthful androgynous faces. In the silent films already mentioned, it can often be observed how Garbo nestles in a similar way to its partners. It takes over the active part, while the partners generally surrender to it. This behavior is particularly nice to observe in a scene in "Flesh and the Devil", in which Greta Garbo leans over the head of her canvas lover, portrayed by John Gilbert. While she kisses him gently and tenderly, his bent head lies with dark curls in her arms like a soft flower ball. As with Khnopff, the Garbo films are neither about bare facts, nor too clear scenes of seduction. Both Khnopff and Garbo limit themselves to hints and promises, which are never visibly realized.

The Sphinx embodies the animal aspect of the female Eros in connection with the artificial figure of the femme fatale, but also stands for the mysterious that characterizes many representatives of this literary type of woman. The garbo was also compared to the sphinx. There was even a photomontage showing the body of the Giza Sphinx with the face of the Garbo. The secret is part of the sophistication of the Garbo movie characters, which she used to lure her victims to seduce her. For the type of the mysterious woman, however, art history offered another example: Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the "Mona Lisa", that since the beginning of the 19th century, but especially towards the end and beyond "Projection image of a modern need for myths" had risen.

Because of the smile, which was felt to be mysterious, and the androgynous appearance, many authors fantasized what it could do. Walter Pater, from whom the most impressive and pictorial of these fantasies comes, is to be cited as a representative: "It is older than the rocks around it; like the vampire, she has had to die many times and knows the secrets of the tomb; she plunged down into the sea and carried the deeply dilapidated day in her mind." To put it straight away: Greta Garbo had no external resemblance to the portrait of the "Mona Lisa" and probably didn’t strive for it either. But also you, the "divine" , characteristics such as mysterious and timeless are said to have been ascribed by the "Mona Lisa" were seamlessly transferred to them.

A final comparison of a studio photo that Garbo’s favorite photographer at MGM, Clarence Sinclair Bull, shows how much the glamor photography of the film studios for their stars actually reached into art history to keep the public going with relevant poses and masks. 1931, with Gustav Klimts painting created around 1910 "Lady with a hat and boa". Except for the hat and the modernized hairstyle, the image idea of ​​the half-hidden face with the mysteriously erotic look from the corner of the eye has been adopted exactly. Nevertheless, this photo of the Garbo does not give the same erotic impression that Klimt’s strangers give behind her scarf.

Gustav Klimt, Lady with Hat and Boa, around 1910, oil on canvas, 69 x 55 cm, private collection.

Dietrich was better at that. In the new face of the Dietrich the united "Tenderness of the sphinx" with the erotic aggression of Klimts "Judith I" to a mixture that is both refined and dangerous. That face shone even if it did "bedroom expression " did not have the promise to be able to return there at any time. In addition, there was a component that the garbo lacked: Josef von Sternberg let Marlene Dietrich appear in a tuxedo right from the start in her first American film, act as a man as singer Amy Jolly and as a climax of the erotic audacity a woman on the mouth kiss. Not only was women’s fashion prevailing in America, Marlene Dietrich’s concept of the seductress had also been wickedly enriched with a male component.

As with the Garbo, Marlene Dietrich’s film appearances after the "Blue angel" the body played a comparatively minor role, although it was famous for its beautiful legs. The main accent of her seduction came from the face, as with the Garbo. So it was much easier to position them as an androgynous hybrid. The cheeks were visually hollowed out with the same result, because as you can already see on the faces in Fernand Khnopff’s work, the resulting emphasis on the lower jaw results in a more androgynous effect of a female face. In order to make Marlene Dietrich the most visually seductive creature, Josef von Sternberg used the aspect of androgyny that was often thematized in symbolism. Through him, Marlene Dietrich should become the quintessential seduction, "Femme fatale" and "dandy" at the same time.

Source: Andrea Winklbauer: The face of Dietrich. In: Belvedere. Magazine for fine arts. Issue 2, 2002. Pages 34-47

Andrea Winklbauer, * 1965 in Vienna, studied art history. Freelance curator and research assistant on exhibition projects, among others for the Kunstforum Wien and the Kunsthalle Krems. Junior editor of the internet art newspaper artmagazine. Numerous publications on art and cultural history in exhibition catalogs, magazines and daily newspapers.

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January 13, 2017

Franz Berwald (1796-1868): Complete work for piano quintet

Sweden had only a poor musical life in the early 19th century, which was limited to provincial proportions even in the capital Stockholm. From the heyday of the arts under the reign of Gustav III. not much was left a few decades earlier. His son Gustav IV Adolphus showed no interest in music or art, and under his rule the orchestra of the opera house was the only professional in the country. At that time, Sweden hardly had its own symphonic tradition, and the audience was only open to orchestral music when it came from foreign composers. As a result, most Swedish composers limited themselves to smaller genres and created pleasant, often undemanding songs or piano music. Such intimate music was not intended for the concert stage, but for the living room of the educated middle class. Of course, symphonies could not be heard there, unless in arrangements for piano four hands.

For this reason, Franz Berwald, who was distinguished primarily by his symphonies, was not properly honored in his home country during his lifetime. Today, however, no one can deny that he was the musical beacon in Sweden in the last century, and for many he will always be the most important composer that his home country has produced.

Understandably, Berwald did not feel well in the musical circles of his home country with their antiquated ideas. He therefore moved to Berlin in 1829 as a 33-year-old man. Since he could not finance himself as a musician, he worked as an orthopedic surgeon. He was successful in this profession and had his own practice from 1835. He composed in his spare time, although hardly complete works were created in these years. In the spring of 1841 he closed his practice and moved to Vienna. The new city showed a greater interest in his music, and although he only lived in Vienna for one year, he wrote several great works, including two symphonies. The surprisingly friendly reception in this cosmopolitan city encouraged Berwald so much that he dared to hope that Sweden would be ready for his music after 13 years of absence. In April 1842 he arrived in Stockholm with bags full of new manuscripts.

The disappointment was great here. Sweden’s music scene had hardly changed during his absence and appeared all the more provincial to Berwald, who was used to the rich concert life of the continent. The few works he was able to perform were not recognized and were dismissed as uninspired or eccentric.

Of his four symphonies, only one was written during his lifetime Symphony sérieuse, listed. However, the concert was a fiasco. The orchestra was much too small and had not rehearsed the symphony thoroughly. The conductor was a cousin of Berwald, with whom he was not on good terms.

In 1846 Berwald went on a trip abroad, which took him to Paris, southern Germany, Salzburg and Vienna. He was received with open arms everywhere, especially in Vienna, where he was made an honorary member of the Mozarteum.
The lack of money forced him to return to Sweden, where he settled permanently in 1849. The following years he ran a glass factory in the north of the country, but still spent the winter in Stockholm, where he took part in chamber music performances in the salons of music-loving families.

Franz Berwald (1796-1868)

During this time he began to devote himself almost exclusively to chamber music. Two piano quintets, two string quartets, three piano trios and sonatas for violin or cello and piano were created in the ten years after his return.

As a young man, Berwald had played the violin in the orchestra of the opera house for a few years, but had much less practical experience with the piano. He did not seem to be familiar with the spelling of a Schumann or Mendelssohn, and his piano parts were accordingly unpianistic. The fact that he wrote for the instrument again and again was probably due to the fact that most private ensembles had access to a piano. In addition, he owed his interest in chamber music with piano to a highly talented student, Hilda Thegerström, who after studying in Paris and with Pranz Liszt in Weimar became Sweden’s leading pianist.

Berwald composed for Ms. Thegerström Piano quintet in C minor. The composer called the quintet from the start "second quintet", indicating that he completed it in 1857 Quintet in A major in front of his sister plant, probably around 1850. Then it probably closed the two sentences Larghetto and scherzo because they have survived individually and in their original manuscript follow the closing bars from the first sentence of the A major quintet.

Like Bach and Handel before him, in both final movements Berwald borrowed material from his own earlier works, the symphonic poem race and the overture Bajadärfesten, both from 1842.

When Betwald visited Liszt in 1857, he took his Quintet in C minor With. Liszt immediately played it through on the piano, and Berwald later wrote: "I had the opportunity to hear my quintet played. by a truly poetic master. What kind of music! Not just a piano, but an entire orchestra. I will never forget his name."

Out of gratitude, he dedicated his to Liszt Quintet in A major. When Liszt received the published work the following February, he wrote to Berwald: "They express themselves in an imaginative, artistic and lively language. Your executions and repeats are masterly made, and your style is both elegant and harmoniously interesting. I can say about your work that it is characterized by ingenuity and a particularly strong sense of execution. You do justice to art and at the same time let your common sense guide you." In the same letter he also commented on the lack of understanding of the audience, about which he wrote: "You have ears but hear nothing". He advised Berwald not to be put off by this and, at the risk of missing recognition during his lifetime, to let himself be guided by the heart and imagination when composing.

The Quintet in C minor was performed several times on the piano with Hilda Thegerström, but only publicly in 1874 Quintet in A major was probably premiered in 1895 by the Aulin Quartet and Wilhelm Stenhammar.

Source: Sven Kruckenberg [translation: Eva Grant], in the booklet

Walter Moras (1856-1925): Summer evening on the south Norwegian coast in the archipelago. Oil on canvas, 60 x 125.5 cm

The framework and the act at Dürer and Duchamp

Albrecht Dürer, The Draftsman of the Reclining Woman, 1538, woodcut, 75 x 215 mm, State Museums in Berlin,
Prussian cultural heritage, Kupferstichkabinett.

The binary frame would have been a better choice. But it didn’t happen. The ordinary, simple one prevailed and was allowed to shape the scenario of art history from then on. The frame is actually just a tool used to outline fields. But the sections that he marks have differently rated ontological zones. As soon as the frame is mounted around a picture, we know which world is fictional and which is factual. He is one with it "sheath instrument" of a special kind, if he specifies the border between inside and outside – between picture and non-picture – and thus also differentiates between morality and immorality. What happens in the framed field is the invented or infinitely available world. What happens outside is the role model or simply the reality that has a role model effect.

Anyone who looks at a picture in this sense has already understood that it never reflects pure reality, but rather made-up reality. Recognizing this, and yet giving the painting the appearance of the real, was probably the most important achievement of the Renaissance. The panel picture that was invented at the time required the frame for its mobility. In the following, however, this should be of less interest than the fact that the frame for the picture also offered protection from an outside world and also from itself. The enclosing border of the modern image guaranteed that it would not grow out of shape. With its geometrical swath, the Renaissance gained a means of getting rid of foreign and unwelcome meanings. The back, the back, the obscure (including the transcendent) that medieval art always thought to be present had literally been pushed aside or negated from the geometric perspective. Because the perspective was the most effective and best "apotropaion".

The Renaissance paintings had thus become a gaze-oriented stage on which the modern subject created a counterpart in order to reify the world in this way. The stage had become a flat table. Even the "Scenae frons", the Renaissance theater wall was formed as architecture that is like the geometrical illusion of painting. It was the flatness that gave the illusion of depth as space. And the same flatness prevented the reference to the shallow as a human being. No one could see the other of the scene, the underlying, the obscure, the oppressive and intrusive, in the abstract space of geometry. It was in "off" disappeared. An example of this is sexuality. The origin of the word "obscene" is considered to be ambiguous, but the most likely is a modification of the Latin "scena". Sometimes that means "obscene" literally the "off scene", the one that has no place on the stage. At the same time, this rejected was necessary, as always, in order to supply the empire with domesticable substances within the framework. According to the doctrine of mimesis and geometry, the obscene should take place outside.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still # 34, 1979,
Photograph, 101 x 76 cm, privately owned.

But we will see how this exclusion rhetoric not only did the opposite, but also needed to focus on the non-scenic "measure up". As a result, here from one "binary frame" be spoken. This is a special kind of frame because it looks like a window that the Italian Renaissance painting theorist L. B. Alberti spoke of when he was looking for a metaphor for the panel painting. The binary frame is also a frame that breaks through Alberti’s one-sided window logic because it assumes an interrelation between the two sides. Two subjects and two scenes face each other, not subject and object or subject and scene. A constant reversal relationship should therefore be spoken of here and a possible history of the destabilization of the order.

Our story begins with an extremely controversial, because self-thematic attempt at artistic preparation. Albrecht Dürer, the most important Renaissance artist in the north, introduces us to the problem of perspective. It is a methodical lesson that we get to see, at the same time an example from his older work, but actually an illustration of the book The underweysing in the measurement, that turned to budding young painters. A quirky artist sits on the right of his drawing table on his strange, cross-real, woodcut, which cannot be read in two parts before the introduction of the Cinemascope. He looks very concentrated through a frame that is set up in the middle of the table. On the opposite side you can see a lolling woman wearing only a linen cloth around her naked body. The couple is not only unequal due to their sitting and lying (on the table). Above all, his view through the framed window, which is placed in the middle of this scene, is unequal. Not only that someone is watching here, someone else who cannot observe himself because of the twisted pose, the woman is also measured by the artist as if she belonged to a distant object world.

The stitch is an excellent testimony of geometric construction and also an astonishing achievement of its representation as an image in an image. According to this higher goal, the motif was also chosen at random. This time it is a half-naked woman, but at other times it can also be a lute. What enables both subjects to become worthy of a picture is quickly researched and very profane. The frame and grid are angular, women and sounds are not. Dürer chose the two motifs because they particularly challenged his construction method of geometry through curves and curves. However, as can be shown, these resistances are mastered brilliantly. Adherence to the rules and a rigid mathematical approach are of course a prerequisite for success. It is an approximation that clearly differentiates what is seen from what is seen. As a result, there is also a distinction between the right and left sides, subject and object, between the zones in front and behind, between draftsman and motif, between man and woman, between upright and lying, between clothed and exposed, between angular and round and much more.

They are all juxtapositions that one can also call Jacques Derrida "binary oppositions" should understand. Derrida believed that the entire metaphysical tradition of thinking was shaped by such pairs. We don’t have to go as far as the French philosopher here. However, we can follow him by observing that such comparisons are constructions in which the first part of the pairs is preferred. The aim of Derrida’s approach is to temporarily reverse these hierarchies and thus to override them. Derrida is used for "deconstruction" The procedure mentioned is a kind of methodless method, within which he does not criticize the couples from an external point of view, but rather sets them in motion from within. The starting point is mostly hidden clues, often at right angles to the author’s intentions, and irritating details, from which the stability of the terms can be lifted.

Andre Breton – L’ecriture automatique, 1938,
photograph.

Dürer’s engraving also contains details that, as it were, undermine perfection and inner coherence. Anyone who does not allow himself to be immediately absorbed by the sober symmetry of the binary composition, and who takes a closer look, will notice that the artist’s intention to capture a picture of the woman is such that it can hardly be achieved. The woman breaks the simple frame. Your true contour, e.g. B. the thigh and knee seems to reach out. The power of its fullness, which already suggests the fullness of power that Freud will talk about much later in his essays on femininity, becomes aware of this closer look. Pushing the female body out of the framework is neither clumsy nor inadequate. Who could assume this to be an old master like Dürer? No, it is the premonition that has already become precarious about the picture that this constellation, the encounter with the woman on the table, cannot be formatted without flaws and system errors. Dürer suppresses and knows at the same time that this scene, which is to become a picture, is one "off scene" is and probably also contains obscene elements which, although they are rendered noble by their image, cannot be finally erased.

The offsets can only be hidden by minutely and in detail pointing out the technical objectives. The draftsman sees the model from below, and through this (actually strange and at the same time extremely intimate) setting he shows us it as something that formally (from his point of view) places the highest demands. Indeed, the act to be painted is shown to him in an extremely demanding position, which due to its extreme shortening is far more difficult to master than the view that we actually get to see. Overcoming these perspective problems and downsizing the third dimension to the second are without a doubt the subjects of the picture. The Austrian art historian Thomas Zaunschirm even thinks it is a "secret mission statement" not only for Dürer, but also for art history writing. According to Zaunschirm, Panofsky, to whom we probably owe the most important studies on Dürer and the Renaissance, never explicitly discussed this engraving, but precisely the lack of mention and the overly clear dealing with the problems of perspective in this picture "symbolic form" let it be concluded that it was a formative work. The very fact that something is not mentioned, as Derrida never tires of emphasizing, can be an indication of his special validity, which would be a curious argument that the modernist artist’s suppression logic continues in art history and its methods.

Balthus, Large composition with ravens, 1983/86,
Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, privately owned.

Following these considerations is going too far. It is more important to come back to the subject of the framework here. In Dürer’s illustration, he is the hinge of the picture and a strange paradox, because its border is not outside and around, but in the center of the picture. The window in the picture is also not opaque, like the picture that is being created, it is a transparent glass surface. It allows a view from both sides. It is a "binary frame", which is open and permeable on two sides. Judith Butler once used this term in a completely different context when it came to characterizing the asymmetry of gender relations and their respective identities from a feminist perspective. in the "binary frame" the peculiarities of the feminine are recognizable and a limitation of the representation discourse has not yet been implemented. The binary framework already harbors preliminary decisions, it stands on the threshold of the decision of the hegemonic view. Because it already announces how identity is determined and the separation of one subject from another can be accomplished.

Butler’s arguments about the gradual, creeping transformation into fixed positions, into subjects and categorizations, could hardly be better illustrated than through the presentation of Dürer’s instruction. Especially in the slight inclination of the window to the side of the draftsman, the upcoming gaze economy becomes clear. If the window frame were correctly placed in the center, we would no longer see the rules of strict geometry as a vertical line. In order to avoid this complete flattening, with which the abstraction of modernism from the 20th century later played, Dürer had to set up the frame in a slightly distorted manner. As a result of this slight shift to the right, however, it changes its symbolic content. The frame no longer plays the role of the undecidable in between and becomes partisan. It marks the transition from the still open constellation of the binary frame to the simple one, which no longer contains reciprocity. The artist uses the window frame as a sight, and as a sign for himself. The glass is a picture screen in the double sense of the word, projection screen and defense gesture at the same time. In addition, its grid shows how the seen must be set up so that it can finally be constructed and preserved as an image. The extreme closeness of the exposed to the glass frame of the artist is the irritating element. In the Dürer experimental set-up, the female model appears to have been kept at a distance and squared, but has not yet been completely banished to the picture. At the latest in the finished drawing, the woman patterned by the artist will have turned into a filling pattern.

Butler’s question of how identities are created through processes of naming and separation has shaped the feminist discussion from the very beginning. At Simone de Beauvoir, gender identity was a construction based on the principle of assignment. Beauvoir championed the thesis of the shapeliness of women by men, a thesis that in the famous sentence: "You are not born a woman, you become one" was brought down to the shortest denominator. Laura Mulvey, filmmaker of the 70s, is one of the first to apply these considerations to art. Mulvey differentiated between spheres of action between the male and the female, continuing Beauvoir’s idea by claiming that it was male representation systems that interpreted the man as the designator but the woman as the unmarked. So it says both combative and programmatic: "Women (.) Stand in patriachal culture as signifiers of the male other, bound to a symbolic order", in which the man has his obsessions "the silent image of the woman tied to her place as a bearer of meaning, not a creator of meaning".

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, 1958, acrylic, oil and
Gold on canvas, 101 x 81 cm, Colección de Arte
Contemporáneo de la Fundación la Caixa, Barcelona.

Using the example of contemporary film, Mulvey showed how men take on the role of active agents, while women take on the passive ones. Mime in the cinematic narrative version the women the goals of male willingness to act. According to this relatively simple gender binarity, women never find equal representation. In the film you can already because of the created there "male look", only have the role of interrupting the narrative course of action from time to time. This uprising by the addressee does not lead to a general overturn of the order, but to a certain dismay in the course of the story. Resisting the male punctuation leads to a short circuit and the masculine urge to act "pent-up". This is a very significant moment, Mulvey said, because of the gender difference "a moment of formal and feminine opulence" is irritated. In short: within the male gaze regime, which she understands from the outset only as a model, i.e. as an example, women can only act as actors in so far as they actually do not oppose the masculine desire for image creation for the time being, but are content with it to interrupt the generation of meaning instead of it. Actually speaking, this means that they have a kind of passive resistance within the set "frame" performs to avoid submission / instruction by the male actor with this subversive act.

It should not be overlooked that this is possible under the condition of the binary framework, that is, in compliance with a constellation that involves an exchange from both sides. If the window in Dürer’s work were used as a binary frame, which is not actually intended, this would mean the following: The female "actor " could use the glass mounted in the middle as a mirror. The male line of sight (his desire and sublimation as a technical achievement) would no longer matter because the glass appears opaque to her. She would be alone with her likeness. There is also a liveliness that has been regained or not yet disempowered. As a mirror, the window does not show the typical rigid surface and geometric depth of a painting. As a mirror, the woman would generate a changeable and ephemeral image that disappears the moment it is no longer seen.

Taking the constellation of painter and model into consideration, the aim was to exhaust the requirements of the model session to such an extent that the picture that was in the process of being formed was shaped and anticipated by one’s own pose. Of course, the scope available for this is small, especially among those "Frame conditions" the subscriber who wants to rule out unpredictability. However, it increases when the portrayed person shows himself to be flexible, a masquerade begins or, more radically, he chooses to cross his own gender as a travesty. Because then the male access, which is for fixation and identification, would understandably fail. These two possibilities, transgender and masked identity, which are not uncommon in art today, do not yet exist in Albrecht Dürer’s undisturbed universe of male representation.

Willem de Kooning, undated, 1967, oil on paper, 65.3 x 55.5 cm,
Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, Vienna.

But what would the naked woman see if she used the window as a semi-transparent mirror? What if she met herself in her own and someone else’s gaze? We probably have in Cindy Shermans "Untitled Film Still # 34" such an example before us. Sherman’s entire work is characterized in that she creates her pictures as staged self-portraits. In the black-and-white photograph from 1979, we encounter the actor lying on a bed with bare legs. This attitude alone signals the willingness that Dürer’s naked man was required to submit to the male term. At Sherman, however, this is a decision. In the picture, the protagonist lets her head fall back, which emphasizes the sensual character of her pin-up pose. Next to her on the bed (notice the effect of the wrinkles) is a penny novel open. We experience her herself in a dreamy absence, at a moment when she is evidently about to put herself in the scene of the book that caused her mood. "The pose" so says Kaja Silverman to the photo, "is not necessarily something "active"." Still show it "subject", because it "engages in a function in the exercise of which it is recorded."

It is interesting how Sherman, who never separates polar or categorical, condenses different identifications for her photography by entering into a situation of multiple imitations. For example, as an artist, she imitates a woman for a photo, who in turn falls into the posture of another, namely one who, fascinated by a trivial novel, slips into the role of another. Sherman "encounters the gaze regime", by confirming the superficial ideal of male submission. As soon as we distrust the authenticity of this scene, however, we notice the criticism through the mirror that the photo itself holds out to us. That moment is addressed – comparable to Mulvey’s concept of the backlog of actions – in which "this object inexplicably returns the gaze, reverses the gaze, and thus challenges the position and authority of the male position".

Dürer’s wife could not see herself in the mirror, no photo by itself finished, let alone combat the male hegemony of the gaze. The "Discomfort of the sexes", spoken of by the butler is provoked here primarily by the excessive display. Dürer’s naked woman holds the hem of a cloth in front of her sex with her left hand. With this gesture she hides on the one hand and on the other hand only points out more. The curling folds also focus. The angular windings are almost uncomfortably direct. They don’t even play the scene like Sherman did. Dürers is also missing "Voluptas", this would be the allegorical name for this type of woman, the attribute (such as the book) that could distract her. Dürer could still rely on iconographic models. The gesture is a typical detail that has been handed down mainly from Venus depictions since antiquity. Dürer often used it in his work. In addition, the contradiction between reference and rejection, which has become a formula, looks like a veil to the covetous look. By the way, for Leon B. Alberti, the veil that attracts and fends off looks was the second metaphor besides the window analogy that he used for the still young panel painting of the Quattrocento.

Yves Klein, ANT 54 – Anthropometry., 1960,
Body print on paper on canvas, 149 x 103 cm,
private property.

Probably out of reference to the scholar, Dürer built a real window cutout into the motif entirely in the conventions of Italian painting. Actually, there are two window images that show different views side by side, iconographically assigned to the gender spheres. It is interesting that there is an approximation of women and landscape on the left. The top line of her left arm looks softly ascending and, like in a tilted image, has the function of a hill line in the landscape representation above. This puzzle can be seen as more than just a trick of the artist. Because the combination distracts one more time from the fact that the artist cannot actually see this view of the double composition. It is reserved for us as neutral third parties, as it were, to be able to see the semantic cross-fading of woman and port, which is ultimately a combination of woman and picture. In the artist’s drawn version, the woman as a subject, deprived of her subject status, almost disappears completely in the window-like pre-image. And to be precise, it is the view of the picture as an obscene scene that the artist’s gaze denies us.

Perhaps the artist knows about the bluntness of his motif and maybe he also senses the submission strategy that creates a rasterized image of the woman. The strict method, the frame, the chess board on which only moves that are predetermined, and the perspective as a symbolic form will still be enough means and distraction for him to ultimately ignore these objections. The liveliness of masquerade or travesty, which could turn a queen into a king, is not envisaged in this system. That is why the other instruments that – if you like – are placed as phallic tips on the table or ready to be attached to your belt – are only an iconographic addition to a categorical attempt to split gender identity. They are weapons against the weapons of women.

So we could see how with the perspective-correct organization of the space the representation of women, their erotic affinity and appearance were constructed and sublimated at the same time. In addition to the orthogonal order, Dürer’s fidelity to the image was also important because it was an aspect that was to become even more important later in the history of the images. Because historically, this is very often the case "real", above all the photographically real, blamed for the emergence of visual obscenity. Many studies on the pornographic image (especially in the 19th century) have shown that it was not only the easier availability of the photographic image that was responsible for the enormous number of erotic images. It was also the trace of the real that was conveyed in the photo, the belief in its authenticity, which could spark a new obscenity.

Indeed, photography as a technology appears as a continuation of the striving for images of the early modern period and thus also as a continuation of its tradition of gender representation. In this sense, the thesis of the active male gaze, which now claims to find the other in the female with complicated apparatuses and physico-chemical processes, is confirmed. However, it should be borne in mind that perception is also subject to history, and this applies in particular to the economy of the gaze. The situation becomes complicated at the latest from the point at which repression of male images was tackled by male image producers themselves. Then, at the latest, irritation and irony penetrated the gaze regime and undermined its preconditions.

Yves Klein, Postume Realization of the illuminated blue
Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde, Paris 1983.

In a photograph by surrealist Andre Breton we see a well-dressed gentleman. He, who turns to us in a proud and correct habit, is identified by a microscope as a scientist or as a specialist in optics. So far so good. But the seriousness of his portrait is severely disturbed by a second, completely incompatible level of representation behind it. It is the sphere of the woman that peeps out from behind him this time (without perspective). She mischievously disturbs his serious, virile need for representation. In addition, she smiles from behind a grate. The square grid is by no means a construction principle or a tool for better visibility. It is a prison from which the model is preparing to cross. Perhaps it is even a chamber of sadistic tendency or an attractive dream image of the repressed that reminds itself kindly and persistently.

The ambiguity of Breton’s collage makes it clear that the conditions for the man’s fantasies of domination and possession have changed. There is an admission of the instinctive and traumatic. The serious insights led to all kinds of self-deprecating contributions. For example, the instruments of optics, symbols of the visual mastery of male conquest history, are perceived as ridiculous. Even the obscene, the "off scene", is no longer pushed as unworthy, but on the contrary celebrated as the power of the creative. Dreams, sex and arousal are sometimes even considered to be more real than the views of microscopes, sextants and education. Everything that thwarts your own control and mechanical grid search was legitimate from now on.

The male admission to his own monstrosity becomes even clearer and more striking in a painting by the French painter Balthus. This artist whom some art historians precisely because of the conventionality of his medium Regarding us as avant-garde, male representation in the crisis conveys us. A female figure, lying on the bed undressed and supported only by a cushion, (not unlike the lying Dürer) seems independent of the male desires. She holds her right arm stretched up towards a raven, who sits on a console above her and with whom she communicates mysteriously. The naked (!) Man looks in vain to the one lying in dreamlike rapture and the black platypus. The woman is devoted to her own fantasies, somewhat comparable to the protagonist in Cindy Sherman’s photo production. The real difference to the photo: the male figure can be seen in the picture, it does not take any extra-imaginary to see with the male gaze.

But this "ID" with the "heroes" is by no means pleasing at Balthus. Its male protagonist is too small to cope with the coveted on the bed. The stool, which is supposed to help him climb up, is also too puny. The scene in which the male part is not allowed to act, let alone enforce his gaze, is sad and funny at the same time. The naked woman also brought a grid. The stool he is holding is strangely encircled. A ridiculous prison, for overwhelming abundance, those "feminine opulence", which, to all irony, has also taken on almost masculine, i.e. mirror-image, traits. It is formally noteworthy that the painting is structured in two sectors. What is conveyed by the scale relationships and the separation of a male region of desire from a female is firstly a reversal of the hierarchy and secondly a paradigm shift: women no longer have to suddenly interrupt the man’s urge to act when it is carried out. Passive resistance is not required, it is self-sufficient and does not even perceive the other.

Eva Babitz and Marcel Duchamp, Pasadena, October 18, 1963,
Photograph by Julian Wasser. In the background "Large glass".

In the repressed, Balthus and Breton found an answer to their own fantasies of rule. In the matrix of the subconscious, they encountered the male gaze regime that they themselves wished for. And yet these images, which – regardless of whether a photo or a panel picture – leave the construction of the perspective behind, were still not mirrors and therefore only self-reflecting to a limited extent. Balthus lets us experience a dream, Breton switches to automatic writing (as the caption tells us). Both works read like sinister diaries of sexual arousal. They are monologues with their own fantasies that are presented unsettled and at the same time too confidently. Despite this self-criticism, they will not succeed in the binary framework. It almost seems that gender equality is being opposed even more by surrealistic self-dialogue than by the drastic juxtaposition that Dürer envisaged.

So the questions, which alternative is still open, which representation can do justice to the desire without becoming degrading, and which form of the real one needs to free the picture from its attempts to distance itself became more and more pressing. In photography, the discussion culminated in the debate about the aura. Consider that Benjamin has the aura almost simultaneously with the Surrealists "unique appearance of distance, as close as it may be", defined. In relation to the dialectic of scene and obscenity, this insight also seems remarkable as a contribution to the history of repression in modern times. In the meantime, considerations arose in painting that thematized their means and the relationship to the body and physical experience.

Norman Bryson, who dealt with this rather shaded side of artistic expression, has recalled the term ‘deixis’ for this. Deixis, today mainly used in the context of linguistic reasoning, interprets Bryson as a special narrative in which the "neighborhood" is considered as painterly quality. In clear contrast to the ideology of the "distance", which clearly showed the Renaissance through its directionality and screen, the Now and the own perspective included in the moment have their say in the Deixis. As a way of speaking, it includes a statement (i.e. one’s own location and its relation to the other) and a self-reflection of one’s own position in relation to oneself and external determination. One immediately thinks of Sherman’s tactics of masquerade, or the thought play of a mirror stage in front of Albrecht Dürer’s binary framework.

Marcel Duchamp, The Big Glass – La Marié mise à nu
par ses célibataires, même, 1915-23, various materials,
272.5 x 175.8 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art,
Bequest of Katherine S. Dreier.

Even more important for the context is Norman Bryson’s art-historical thesis based on these observations: With the fidelity of illustration in modern painting, the Deixis has disappeared. The brush worked since the Renaissance "obliterative". In other words, he deletes his own trace when painting. The improvisational logic of image creation, the existence of the image in its own time, in practice and in the body were simply eliminated. To confirm his thesis, Bryson dares to compare it with Far Eastern art. The brush is used quite differently in East Asia. For example, he moves in the soft focus of Chinese painting. It becomes tangible there, as a physical presence and in its own duration. How contrary does this seem to us to the suppression of physical alienation in European painting since modern times, e.g. when Dürer installs a static guide at the beginning to keep away from those touches, as close as they are. Only modernity, in its varieties of Expressionism and Informel, will try to win over this aspect of authenticity.

The brush opens up, so Bryson could think further, in these currents similar to China as a possible emotional instrument, but as a descendant of the domination scenarios also as torn inside. As a representative and henchman of a post-perspective depiction, he tends to be more agitated than physical tenderness in these arts. The brush of abstraction draws traces of uninhibited discharge more often than soulful self-sufficiency. Used in China in a rather soft, feminine and epistemic manner, this tendency of European art shows the male inheritance, which was caused by the long history of perspective reification. This applies particularly to the image of women. Particularly in the Informel, the brush often got out of hand and in "Ecstasy", i.e. he stepped out of the scene to angrily get rid of the obscene that is bothering him. Every attack on the background of the picture looked like a gesture of rejection and punishment. Austrian actionism had pushed these acts to the extreme, but earlier, for example in Lucio Fontana or in post-war American painting, this trait had become visible.

At the latest at Willem de Kooning, the brush strokes became lashes. The lying female nude is difficult to recognize in the tangle of colors. Every representation here is already disfigured, every representation coping is overwhelming. A final remnant of masculine will to identify was also conveyed in this painting. De Kooning had always placed his files in landscapes and even referred to them as landscapes. With its so-called "woman capes" he maintained that even in a painting that had become destructive, a harmonious fusion of woman and image or of woman and landscape was possible. And we remember: that was also Dürer’s association in his carved window picture at the top left and not least a topos of male gaze economics.

It could not be hidden that these attempts were ambiguous, the subliminal aggressiveness inhibited the use of the painting medium and the painting of the opposite sex became a flagellant exaggeration. But how could the exit, the extasis from the framework, be carried out without affecting the image of women in this way? Yves Klein, an idiosyncratic French artist with a penchant for East Asian thought up with his so-called "Anthropometries" (Body measurements, sic!) A compromise. It is thanks to the coincidence of history or the scholarship of a whispering art historian that it was the same title that Dürer already used for his proportion studies. But Pierre Restany actually didn’t find the right word. Klein tried not to teach and measure, but to undress, gesture and be. It was on the evening of February 23, 1958, when he invited a few friends over and presented his new work idea. In response to a sign, a model bared, Klein’s future wife Rotraut took blue pigment emulsion from a saucepan and smeared her breasts, stomach and thighs down to her knees. The model then pressed his body five times against a paper attached to the wall.

Marcel Duchamp, Étant donnés: 1st la chute d’eau, 2nd le gaz d’éclairage
– Interior view, 1946-66, various materials, 242 x 177 x 124 cm,
Philadelphia Museum of Art, donated by the Cassandra Foundation.

The idea, "with living brushes" Klein later continued to paint in several other public actions. What was new was that the morphology of the image should develop itself without influence. The woman had become a Deixis, and Klein found a hint of her presence that exceeded the ordinary, reconstructing representation. What was important in this action and is often overlooked was that the artist pretended that the woman was no longer important. It was for "instrument" to represent something that was beyond representation. Klein saw metaphysical sensation realized in these pictures, which sometimes even had pop-lascivious traces of lipstick. They stood for timeless borderlessness, transcendence and a coincidentally growing presence of the numinous. Not a word of erotic staging, sexual exhibition or submission of the women that he dragged naked / painted across the floor. Not even a word of the phallic symbolism that he recalled when he was "Parisian Obeslik" watched over the Place de la Concorde as an oversized judge’s decision. What Willem de Kooning worked on instinctively, the threat of attracting the opposite sex, the exaggerated Yves Klein to the unassailable present. This succeeded surprisingly, even though his pictures looked like stains from a pipe shaft test.

If these attempts with the brush aim at a closeness which sublimates as aggression or exaggeration, another, probably more important modern work of art had already taken up the subject of separation and the frame. The work "The Marié mise à nu par ses célibataires, même", also called that "Large glass" by Marcel Duchamp represented the two sexes separated by a frame. They were two glasses that were mounted one above the other. Above, like an amorphous cloudy sky, the dress of the floats "bride". It is wooed by several bachelors, who are in the lower area, just as tirelessly as in vain. The act of desire is also the desire to undress.

Despite the title, which heralds the prelude to the sexual act, Duchamp visibly renounced erotic form. The feminine opulence that causes men’s striving to act is also evident in this work: What we see is a construction drawing that is correctly perspective in the bachelor region, distorted in the bride region, amorphous or cubist is. In her dress, which runs like a leaden streak, three square openings are embedded, which Marcel Duchamp wants to know identified as a veil. Duchamp described the forms of the bachelor machine as "imperfect, rectangular, circular, parallelipedid, symmetrical (.), that means measurable". The metric representation found its opposition in a visualization in the fourth dimension. The bride, extrapolated to the fourth dimension, became inaccessible for access, also for the representation of the two-dimensional men.

Jean François Lyotard, reconstruction and isometric view
by Marcel Duchamp, Étant donnés: 1. la chute d’eau, 2. le gaz d’éclairage

Similar to Balthu’s hierarchically layered painting, the vainly desires are faced with superiority: At Duchamp this is not articulated with the means of painting or using an obliterative brush, but through a soldering iron work and through one "double frame", which shows two front sides, as it were. what in "Big glass" namely separated by the middle bar, is in Dürer’s woodcut in front of and behind the glass. The model that Dürer presents in bed pose, the "bride", is only stripped by the artist in view, with which he penetrates the glass. The paradox is that bachelors and brides are now equal in so far as they are fixed on each other, but they cannot come together in this equality. Our gaze only meets motifs that can no longer see each other. Therefore we have in "Big glass" also none "binary frame" in front of us because the horizon line in the center prevents the two parties from exchanging views. Exceptionally, the glass surface leads us into the void. If you use that "Large glass" like a window, you see nothing except the place where it is. It shows that "behind it", the "off scene" and the context.

Probably for this reason, in order to point out the logic of the image as a review and projection, Duchamp took the work as a stage film during an exhibition in Pasadena in 1963 "Scenae Frons" a very strange production. Duchamp himself sat for a photo op and played chess with a bared woman. The situation, which can only be considered as not obscene in the context / context of art, is a parabolic staging of what is happening on the screen behind it. The parallels to the contents of the glass are obvious and intended by the position in front of the picture, but the woodcut by Dürer, which is not present, comes to mind if the position and role of the chessboard as a representation matrix of the difference between the sexes are taken into account.

Duchamp obviously refers to Dürer’s demonstration, even more in his second major work, the much later one "Étant donnés", that shows a peephole-insight into a diorama, in which a naked woman lies in a landscape (!). A reconstruction of the work by Jean-François Lyotard most clearly shows how the structure is based on Dürer’s model staging. The room installation is not accessible, and it can only be viewed by a single viewer who is forced to stoop through the keyholes as if it were a peep show. The work remains invisible to the other exhibition visitors, and even the viewer (with a monocular look), alienated by his involuntary part as a voyeur, can no longer say exactly what he saw there in an effortless manner. It would also be indecent to talk about it, the scene is too obscene. This time the bride is really bared and is lying in a brush with her legs apart as if she had been the victim of rape. Our gaze is now doing violence to you, a violence whose harbingers had previously announced. These forms of subjugation were, of course, sublimated in construction, in measurement, and an art of perspective. This was derived from a Latin "inspection" which, however, lacked consideration. "consideration" The binary frame that was created in modern painting, but was not used, is probably only allowed in the review.

Source: Thomas Trummer: Submission and measurement. The framework and the act at Dürer and Dunchamp. In: Belvedere. Magazine for fine arts. Issue 1/2003. Pages 60-75

Thomas Trummer, born in 1967; Studied art history, philosophy and music. Since 1992 lecturer at the University of Graz, since 1996 curator for modern and contemporary art at the Austrian Gallery Belvedere. Numerous publications on the history of aesthetics and contemporary art, most recently: "The Waste Land. Desert and ice. Wasteland landscapes in photography", Vienna 2002 and "mourning", Vienna 2003.

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