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The Action Painting

9 mai 2016

Appeared shortly after World War II in the United States, the abstract Expressionism is an artistic movement of many forms, Action Painting being the most remarkable of them.

From Paris to New York

The end of the second great world war from 1939 to 1945 brings out two major trends in the international environment of Art. Dominant from now on, the European market is crumbling, weakened by years of war, financial problems, disorganization and successive exiles of artists in the United States. And, precisely at the same time, across the Atlantic, the land of Uncle Sam gets out of the Great Depression of the Thirties and aims to become the new epicenter of the global modern art. Artists, critics, museums, galleries, dealers, buyers, collectors... all American artistic microcosm joins efforts to pursue a purely Yankee Art. The first movement to emerge is abstract Expressionism, born mostly in New York workshops, which will make of the city that never sleeps, the new capital of world art to the detriment of Paris.

A movement with multiple styles

Led by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) and Franz Kline (1910-1962), the movement finds its naming of abstract expressionism after many debates at the 39 of the 8th East Street in New York. From a purely artistic point of view, the influences of abstract Expressionism are marked by European artists like Picasso, Kandinsky and Miro, by surrealism and by abstract.

expressionnistes américains

(From the left to the right : Rothko, Franz Kline et Newman)

Quickly, many artists are grafted to the movement, attracted by this philosophy out of formalism. From Hamilton to Newman, through Rothko, Gottlieb and Gorky, painters gather under the banner of abstract Expressionism, which then comes in several distinct painting styles such as colorfield painting or action painting. This style is the most famous of all, led by its main figure, Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock, the master of dripping

In 1952, the critic Harold Rosenberg suggested for the first time the term of action painting in an article entitled American Action Painters. "At one point, the American painters [...] began to consider the canvas as an arena in which to act, rather than a space in which to reproduce, recreate, analyze or "show" a real or imaginary object. What was to be on the canvas was not a picture, but a fact, an action

(Jackson Pollock)

This new way of imagining the painting therefore has a purely physical and material dimension in which the body of the artist is a key element of creation. Jackson Pollock is one of the leaders of this movement. He chose to express himself on large formats canvas, necessary for his technique called "dripping" : he distributes on his canvas some painting that comes out of a box with holes in the bottom and adds drips obtained by a stick that he dips out of a container in a crazy artistic dance. The idea is to give importance to the texture, the material and the artist's gestures.

Agusil and the importance of texture

As the abstract expressionists, the Catalan duo Agusil gives a great importance to the use of the material, texture and gestures during the creation of their pieces of art. Marc and Maria were trained separately to the technical plastic arts before coming together to create together. Defining their pictorial practice as "polyhedral", the duo uses many techniques to perform their artworks. First brushed with oil and acrylic, the canvas is then invested by a joint work with a spatula or a brush, of this mixed pictorial matter; this method enabling Agusil to play with the rendering, the lights and the textures. Executed in powerfully colored tones, the portraits are painted vividly with brief and precise gestures. A particular attention is paid to specific elements of the face, especially the eyes and lips. Therefore, they deliberately choose to let the color and gesture to express itself on the canvas to suit their unconscious or physical laws induced by their movements. Under expressiveness, their creations seek to reveal the character and the personality of the subjects represented.