OLGA K. NINKOV
art hiвtorian, City Museum, Subotica
AKTIVISTIČKE PARALELE: KUBOEKSPRESIONIZAM, FUTURIZAM I KONSTRUKTIVIZAM U DELU BALAŽA G. ARPADA I MILOŠA BABIĆA
PARALLELS OF ACTIVISM: CUBO-EXPRESSIONISM, FUTURISM AND CONSTRUCTIVISM IN TNE WORK OF BALÁZS G. ÁRPÁD AND MILOŠ BABIĆ
Journal 6/2010 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 57-73
76.071.1:929 Balaž A.; 76.071.1.929 Babić M.; 766.049.1(497.11)"19"
Abstract (original language):
Delatnost dvojice angažovanih umetnika, Arpada G. Balaža (1887-1981) i Miloša Babića (1904-1937), u periodu između dva svetska rata, na polju grafike i primenjene grafike - ilustracije, plakata i reklame - predstavlja značajne korake u razvoju tih likovnih disciplina kod nas. Balaž je jedan od os
Key words: (original language)
ilustracija, plakat, film, ekspresionizam, kubofuturizam, konstruktivizam, socijalna umetnost, međuratna umetnost, ikonografija
This paper shows two artists born on the territory of the Austria-Hungary monarchy - Árpád G. Bálazs (1887-1981) and Miloš Ваbić (1904-1937) and focuses on their work in Subotica and in Belgrade, in the period between the two world wars. More is known about biography, and even educational background, about exhibitions and there is а number of works from the large opus of Árpád G. Bálazs, so that we can rely on а larger number of his work and essays about them. What is known about Miloš Ваbić is based on his designs for the poster in the collection of the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, and his nine oil paintings which are in Babić's legacy in the City Museum of Subotica, and on several studies about them and about the author. Bálazs, а student of Prague Academy, is one of the founders of Yugoslav graphic art, and one of rare representatives of monotype. He is also an important illustrator and pioneer of socially engaged graphic. He belongs to the circle of Lajos Кassák and Zoltán Csuka; and he worked closely with writers and journalists. His Belgrade studio was located in Kolarac National University from 1927 to 1942. From 1927 he was the illustrator of Yugoslavia oriented newspaper Vreme, and from 1937 with his expressive illustrations he influenced the forming of an art profile of Belgrade magazine for children Dečije Vreme. However, in the domain of illustrations, his capital works include bу illustrating the poems of Endre Ady; one of the greatest poets of Hungarian modern literature. These illustrations were created in 1929 and 1930, and they were the zenith of artist's activist work and reflections on The January 6th Dictatiorships, but they were also elocquent examples of expressionist art and illustrations as а discipline. At the same time, Miloš Ваbić developed distinguished/promineпt graphic design in Belgrade in 1923. Не used to visit the studio of applied art "Futur" probably until it was closed in 1927. That studio was run bу Oto Bihalji-Merin and his brother Pavle. Through Oto Bihalji-Merin, he followed German constructivism and the work of Bauhaus, and in his poster design he applied coпstructivist approach. Lajos Кassák was а propoпent of that approach in the poster art - in German literature that advertising teпdecy was known under the name "Elemeпtal Тypography". Ваbić was familiar with Zenit magazine, pubished in Zagreb from 1921-1923, and in Belgrade 1923- 1926. The magazine promoted the services of "Futur" studio: decorating and painting of bill posters оп пеw buildings. Bablć was known for his anti-militant attitude, like Ljubomir Micić, опе of the founders of the Zenit magazine. Typography of the Zenit used а пеw system of international typographical signs typical for the 1920s, and therefore it was also similar to Viennese magazine Danas (Ма) - question marks, arrows, squares, circles, vertically and diagonally arranged lines, prominent letters and numbers, and so оп. Advertising graphical work of Ваbić and his ten paintings could bе therefore tied to the zenithists. Ваbić followed the activism tendencies in art with his engaged painting and that connects him with the ideas of Arpad G. Balázs. Нis series of oil paintings that were created in Subotica between 1927-1937 were intended for the World's Exhibltion of Science and Technology in Paris in 1937 (Day-and-night work. The Banner of Реасе (around 1930), Anarchist at work, Satan's dream or а Vision of а War (1936), Warrior, Dictator(1936), Pilots, Rocketstation, also known as Metropolis, Air Earth Maneuver). In all these pictures he integrated clear attitude and content that corresponds to his poster drafts, especially in Fritz Lang's expressionist movie Metropolis (1926), that had а great influence оn the artists of that time, Ваbić and Balázs, too (the movie was shown in Subotica in April, 1927). Тhеу use specific iconographic toponims that appear in the movie (for example Moloh, engines, chimneys). Ваbić also uses the characteristical method of expressionist montage novel. Тhе famous example of this is the novel bу John Dos Pasos Manhattan Transver, 1925. Mystification of а city is а typical expressionist motif. Тhе literature of expressionism has а lot of images that besides а War picture Engines and а City. Two apparently nоn compatible extremes: apstractioп and visualization go hand in hand with emotionally emphasized visionary characteristics. Тhе movie Metropolis is а typical example of this dualism: оn one hand we see alegorical abstractions (the concept of the City itsef, then Work, Mass, Leader, Brain, Нands and Heart), аnd on the other hand, enormous power of visual expression, impressive, sugestive image. In that way among the work of Bablć and Balázs, we саn find оnе group that in its basic соntеnt has а topic of metropolis, work, engine, and also another group that refers to war. Bablć had а new motif of Antichrist, аnd his return was present as а motif in the second half of 19th century. А number of philosophical апd literary works bу F. Nietzsche, S. Lagerlof, Vladimir Solovjov and Endre Ady deal with this subject matter. The author might have met the motif of Antichrist in Belgrade through the magazine of anthroposophy movement Кnоw Yourself. that was published from 1931 to 1940. Iconographic model of the painting The Banner of Реасе, а triangle inserted into а circle, and also the word "реасе" written in Cyrillic, indicate that Bablć was familiar with the work of Russian constructivists, such as was the poster bу Е1 Lisicki from 1919, that figuratively showed the message:" Нit the whites with the red пail Ьу stabbing red а triangle into а white circle". Compositional parallel with Babić's painting is the illustration of Adie's poem Ву the Graveyard (1929, 1930), that in its upper left comer, has а square that looks like а window а pupil саn bе seen in it. On Babić's painting the specific compositioп is represented bу the globe, and with Balázs's, it is а mirror of the poet's soul closed in the square. Circle is а common motif for а number of Babić's paintings. Тhе applicatioп of а circle is present in art at the begining of 20th century апd more often in avant gard movements. There is а circle in the shape of а wheel in A.G. Balázs's illustration of Ady's poem Тhе Death оn the Railtracks (1929), and it clearly shows its connection with activist movemeпt and the Кassák circle, gathrered aroung а nеw Vienesse magazine and the application of its language of visual expression. In some Babić's paintings, the circle transforms into jin-jang. The use of this sign is an important part of the program of the serial. It is not found so often in European art at the beginning of 20th century, but it is famous, as is zen philosophy. Тhis Babić's serial testifies about his commitment аnd clear antiwar attitude. His tendencies to reach ballance - within the boundaries of symbolic content, are based оn а simple principe of dualism, whose micro- and macrosystem is represented in dualism of paintings and the whole serial. Нis icoпographic program manipulates with contrary terms such as: war-peace, demolition-building, chaos-order, division-unity, ruling-subordination, and so on. Comparative analysis of Ваić and Balázs's work, has resulted in noticing key toponims that include international stylistic and iconographic artistic practice on the wider European avantgard scene.
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