new-york

Oskar Schlemmer

IBM Gallery

One can only hope that in fifty years the figures created by today’s artists will look as resonant and intriguing as Oskar Schlemmer’s figures do today They are remarkable in the way they reconcile divergent impulses. At once robotic and tragic, they are both tossed about in an infinite space and performers in a modern theater. That’s the trick: to rearticulate the tragic isolation of the figure in cosmic space, yet to reaffirm its continuity by placing it on the stage of a future world. Fallen Figure with Column, 1928–29, seems to say it all. Each compositional element combines chaos and order, an odd, lapsed heroism, in itself and in its union with the other. The figures in the numerous extant Bauhaus student drawings move toward the same mythical condition, the same abstract ideality that is never quite arrived at; architectonic figural forms bulge with organic body parts, and are all

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