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Mon, 15 Feb 2010 12:11:51 EST by admin, 111799 views
Pázmány Péter Catholic University
Arts paper by Munteán, László (all papers)
‘Image Architecture’ to Camouflage: Lajos Kassák and György Kepes
Lajos Kassák’s contribution to the various Avant-Garde movements of the 1920s and ‘30s has received a wide scholarly attention. As a poet, writer, painter, and typographer Kassák’s name has been closely related to movements such as Dada, Constructivism, and the Bauhaus – just to mention a few. In this paper I would like to use Lajos Kassák’s concept of “image architecture” as a vantage point and trace out his influence on György Kepes’s investigations into human perception and, in an indirect way, on his innovations in urban camouflage during World War II.
Unlike Malevich and Tatlin, whose strength-lines, forms, and colors correlate with notions, Kassák used notions as platforms for his image-architecture so that they would serve as visual mappings to his poetic experiments, demonstrated by his his 1925 book entitled Tisztaság Könyve (Book of Cleanliness).
György Kepes participated in Kassák’s workshop (Munka-kör) in the late 1920s which would later inform his earlier carrier in the New Bauhaus in Chicago. World War II was already in full swing when he directed the Camouflage Program between 1941-1942 under the auspices of the National Defense Program. The Camouflage Program, which ensued from the Light and Color Workshop, involved all static and mobile aspects of vision in a holistic method, in line with Bauhaus principles. In 1944, when the first air raids against industrial targets in Budapest took place Kepes’s emblematic book, The Language of Vision was published, which incorporates his findings in the field of perception and camouflage.
Beyond highlighting Kassák’s influence on Kepes’s early work, my goal is to identify interrelations between Kepes’s breakthrough investigation into the dynamics of human perception (architectural space, light, shadow, color) and Kassák’s image architecture (textual space, typography). Through this comparative approach I hope to offer new a new context in which to discuss Kepes’s notions of perception and camouflage
Brief Professional Bio:
László Munteán is a doctoral student in the American Studies Ph.D. program at Eötvös Loránd University, writing his dissertation on 9/11 in literature and the fine arts. Since 2004 he has been assistant professor at the Department of English at Pázmány Péter Catholic University. He teaches 20th Century American Literature and American Civilization, and Visual Culture. He also teaches Hungarian Architectural History to American students. His fields of interests include urban space and memorials, interrelations of text and image, modern and postmodern American literature, as well as architectural history and theory. Email: email@example.com