Sospendere il modernismo

La pittura fotografica del Realismo magico

  • Pierluca Nardoni Università di Bologna
Parole chiave: 1922, Magic Realism, Postmedia, Postmodernism, New Objectivity, Valori Plastici, Franz Roh, Walter Benjamin


Beginning in 1922 a series of events marked the spread of Magic Realism in Europe. The Italian magazine Valori Plastici ceases publication but its main theoretical orientation flows into the new figurative classicism of the artists of the Novecento group. In its most algid and suspended outcomes such classicism corresponds to a general tendency toward Magic Realism, whose peculiar character is the fusion of painting and photography. The most striking consequence of that fusion, still not addressed by scholars, is a kind of genetic shift in painting practice that seems to become as objective and impersonal as a photographic shot. In Italy in 1926 Ubaldo Oppi even became a case for what commentators call a “photo-painting” capable only of tracing magazine photos. In Germany, critic and theorist Franz Roh highlights the virtues of this approach by extolling in the magic realists the tendency to annihilate the pictorial treatment of figuration. Through studying the ways in which the photographic code is assumed in the painting of these artists the paper intends to read European Magic Realism as the first major setback of Modernism. By attempting to reproduce the “non-artistic” elements of photography, soon also discussed by Walter Benjamin, 1920s painting suspends many modernist paradigms, including that of the medium's specificity and autonomy and opens up to a postmedial attitude.


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