Expressionism is an avant-garde movement in which violence is everywhere in themes, in forms, in the expression of the artist in general. We can define violence by aggressive facts, language immoderation, brutality and provocation. When we talk about violence in art, the violence is not necessarily a conflict between two or more people. Expressionism gives images of fear, suffering and anxiety. It breaks with the other movements like impressionism, naturalism and symbolism by becoming aware of a subjective identity and singularity of people who are very alone. We can question the measure in which violence in expressionism is the expression of the inner ego of the artist. The art critic, Nicolaï Pounine, considered expressionism as the first trend of the avant-garde. Indeed, expressionism represents the expression of the ego of the artist. In the next avant-gardes, the artist will create a new world. Actually, in expressionism, the artist does not create a new world like Salvador Dali will do, but he describes in his works, the world of the ego. Art in expressionism is considered as « le domaine inexpugnable de l'homme intérieur, royaume des pulsions instinctives et originelles menacées d'étouffement par le progrès technique autant que par la culture de masse » . In expressionism, the artist will express his violent grievances, suffering, and his revolt to the modern world.
[...] So we can see a form of violence in the film Nosferatu with the expression of the vampire but also with the lights and shadows which create an atmosphere of fear. In this picture of the film, there is really a play of light with the white of the vampire like a cadaver and the darkness of the other man. There is no direct violence but a inherent violence. The eye permits to reinforce this idea of fear, and the teeth suggest death with violent acts. [...]
[...] We can see violence in expressionism as a fear of the destruction of the subject, of the human being and of his body. Expressionism appears as a refuge, a sanctuary for the inner nature. As Gérard Conio said “expressionism is the last rebellion cry of the inner human face to the modern frigid”, expressionism represents the expression of artists against a sterile modernity. These artists express their fear of the disappearance of subjectivity. Bibliography Eva Karcher, Otto Dix, Flammarion Siegfried Kracauer, Notes on the planned History of German film, quoted by Volker Breidecker in Siegfried Kracauer/Erwin Panofsky : Ein Briefwechsel p17. [...]
[...] Violence in expressionism manifests itself in different ways. We can find violence in themes, in forms and in paintings. The main themes which are often handled are sexuality, the body, suffering, war. For instance, in paintings of Egon Schiele, the body and sexuality are associated with violence. In Schiele's Seated Nude, he represents a man who has no arms and feet, and represents some parts of his body with red like his sex, his navel and his nipples. These parts of the body are associated with sexuality. [...]
[...] Indeed their works represent reality and the images in painting or in cinema give the population an illustration of their shock because of the war. Conclusion To conclude, violence in expressionism is the expression of the inner ego of the artist. The expressionists do not create a new and outside world and do not blame the horror of war but they express their inner world through art. The violence in expressionism is because of the break with the past artistic movements. [...]
[...] Cinema reinforces violence from the ego Expressionism is a movement which closely connects different spheres like painting, literature, theatre, sculpture and cinema. Actually, in expressionist cinema, the idea of the expression of the inner ego has been reinforced. Cinema gives the opportunity to express the ego of the artist more by movements and a very different expression. Thus, we will see the roving spirit of the artist in itself and the expression of the spirit's labyrinths. As Thomas Elsaesser asks the question the heart of thought, a soul heaped in dynamite?”, the expressionist cinema represents the inner violence of the artist. [...]
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