'...Thus did Constantin Brancusi describe the ceaseless accrual of detail in the realist tradition in its terminal phases, immediately before its fracture by the movement that has come to be called modernism. So what was the alternative to such unfocusing proliferations? ‘Simplicity,’ said the Romanian sculptor, ‘is complexity resolved’. Not evaded then, but resolved. Such resolution required dynamic and expressive form, a form that could cut through the infinite attenuation of detail of late realism and naturalism. It occurred to the most radical artists of modernity that there was a precedent here: not their immediate precursors in the western artistic tradition, but those from ages before, who had not even been known as artists. The ‘primitives’, whose vision was unconstrained by any protocols involving single vanishing-point perspective or three-dimensional illusionism.'
Sarah Kliff on the Big Questions
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