picasso through wittgenstein and nietzsche

FLAM_379098hJack Flam at the Times Literary Supplement:

No artist has reinvented the visible world in a more radical way than Picasso. In his stringent early Cubist paintings, composed with fragmentary geometric planes rendered in earth colours, the differences between figure and ground are hardly distinguishable, testing the limits of representation. After the First World War, he developed a very different kind of painting, paradoxically both flat and suggestive of intangible depth, hard-edged and often brightly coloured. The flexible space in these paintings permitted new kinds of interaction between emptiness and objects, and a broader range of subject matter, much of it erotic or violent, or both.

T. J. Clark focuses on those paintings of the 1920s and 30s in his ambitious but sometimes exasperating new book, Picasso and Truth, which is based on the six A. W. Mellon lectures he gave at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 2009. Picasso’s works from this period have now become so familiar that their complexity and radical strangeness are often taken for granted, even overlooked. Clark’s book sets out to explore just how radical and how strange these paintings are, and the new kind of moral universe that they embody.

more here.