lunes, 15 de mayo de 2017

El "invasor vertical" de John Berger

En 1965 se publicó en la editorial Penguin Books, al precio de 12 chelines y 6 peniques, el libro de John Berger (1926 - 2017) The Success and Failure of Picasso. En este libro Berger calificó a Picasso de "invasor vertical", expresión que tomó prestada del libro de Ortega y Gasset, La Rebelión de las Masas, 1930. Esta es la cita del libro de Ortega y Gasset en la que se inspiró John Berger.
"El europeo que empieza a predominar - esta es mi hipótesis - sería, relativamente a la compleja civilización en que ha nacido, un hombre primitivo, un bárbaro emergiendo por escotillón, un "invasor vertical."
Aquí traigo el modo en que Berger interpreta en su libro el "invasor vertical" de Ortega y Gasset.
"Ortega y Gasset is the last of the classically reactionary thinkers; he cannot, like all the dons who still apolagize for capitalism and who pretend that imperialism doesn't exist, be dismissed as an opportunist. He has been preserved in Spain as in amber, and he is acute and imaginative enough to be obssesed by the historical situation in which he finds himself. All his books are about the historical rack. I think of him because he invented a phrase which is so apt for Picasso. He is generalizing about the modern European masses. On to them he projects all his aristocratic fears of the underprivileged and uneducated. He uses the word primitive in a pejorative sense. But in the case of a truly imaginative writer, images can transcend conclusions. Picasso was a vertical invader. He came up from Spain through the trap-door of Barcelona on to the stage of Europe."
En enero de 1966, Barbara Niven (1896 - 1972) la que fue miembro de la Manchester Society of Modern Painters, del Partido Comunista Británico y directora artística de Theatre Union en Manchester, escribió un artículo, en la revista Marxism Today, sobre el libro de John Berger, The Success and Failure of Picasso. Aquí dejo este pasaje de su artículo.
"Berger's view is that Picasso provoked Cubism by his 1907 painting of five naked women (Demoiselles d'Avignon), the shock of which he describes as the vertical invader's "propaganda by deed." For the first time in the fury of his work on it his skill disappeared in struggle. [...] I agree emphatically with Berger in saying that Cubism was a transformation far more than a stylistic revolt against what had preceded it, that it changed the nature of the relationships between the painted image and reality and so placed man in a position which he had never been in before. Cubism in its use of new materials was the challenge to the bourgeois concept of art as precious and valuable, in its structure it was dialectical materialism in painting. What the Cubist painters wanted was an art that belonged to the new century; they created the possibility of revealing processes instead of static states. "They painted the good omens of the modern world."
La última frase de este pasaje, que Barbara Niven destacó del libro de John Berger, me lleva a concluir que, 52 años después de que Berger escribiera "Ellos pintaron los buenos presagios del mundo moderno." y 110 años después de que aquellos pintores descubrieran otro modo de ver el mundo, ni en el siglo XX ni en lo que llevamos de siglo XXI hemos sabido aprovechar aquellos "buenos presagios".

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