Title :

Enigma variation : Edward Wadsworth's 'marine still-lifes' and Giorgio de Chirico

Author :
VERE, Bernard ;
Publication year :
Language :
English ;
Abstract :
In the late 1920s the ex-Vorticist Edward Wadsworth turned his back on industrial themes to paint his 'marine still-lifes' series. With their objects on the quays of deserted shores and placid seas beyond, a connection is often made with the work of Giorgio de Chirico. This essay examines the nature of that connection. It explores de Chirico's fascination with uncertainty, enigma and melancholia, concerns also being investigated by Freud and recently rethought by Jean Laplanche. Both de Chirico and Wadsworth painted a terrain of loss, but de Chirico concentrated on the loss experienced by the abandoned object, whereas Wadsworth's work seems to refer to a loss experienced by the subject. Recent work on Wadsworth has charged him with the creation of an 'ambiguous modernism,' a counterfeit modernism, which is only reminiscent of the genuine article. This essay rejects that position, viewing Wadsworth instead as producing 'ambivalent modernism,' with the sea emerging as an overdetermined trope: on the one hand a symbol of nationality, and on the other of increasing importance to modernism during the 1920s and 1930s. This project is not foreign to modernism, or imitative of it. Rather, it is part of modernism itself, particularly as experienced in Britain during the 1920s. ;
Pagination/Size :
6 ill. ;
Topic :
French keywords :
Chirico, Giorgio de, 1888-1978 ; Critique d'art ; Grande-Bretagne ; Iconographie ; Italie ; Marine ; Modernisme ; Mélancolie ; Nature morte ; Peinture ; Surréalisme ; Wadsworth, Edward Alexander, 1889-1949 ; 1900-2000 ; 1920-1940 ;
Descriptors :
Art criticism ; Chirico, Giorgio de, 1888-1978 ; Great Britain ; Iconography ; Italy ; Marine subjects ; Melancholy ; Modernism ; Painting ; Still life ; Surrealism ; Wadsworth, Edward Alexander, 1889-1949 ; 1900-2000 ; 1920-1940 ;
Document type :
Article ;
Source :
Visual culture in Britain, 2006, 7, 1
INIST identifier :
24801559 ;
ISSN 1471-4787 ;
Provenance :
Bibliographie d'Histoire de l'Art ;
Publisher :
Ashgate, Aldershot
Publisher country :