Fragmented Geometry


Fragmented planes, the explosion of linear perspective—this vision of the world put forth by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, beginning around 1909, continues to inspire how contemporary artists render space and objects. Fragmented geometry in the Cubist works of Braque and Picasso turned physical space into a system of scaffolding, blurring the relationship of a figure and the space surrounding it and creating “faceted” planes. This breaking apart of solid volumes, an effect noted art historian Robert Rosenblum has described as a “house of cards,” is often seen as an expression of the uncertainty of modernity—also reflected in the non-linear narratives of modernist writers (in particular James Joyce and Virginia Woolf), the angular forms of modern architecture, or the fractured quality of modern music (as in the atonal compositions of Igor Stravinsky).

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