How do the words of Edward Hopper relate to dance? (Part 2)

Self Portrait (Hopper, 1925-30)

In my last post, What is Edward Hopper saying?, I began a 3-part series of entries exploring a quote by the late American visual artist, Edward Hopper. Here again is the quote of interest:

There is a school of painting called abstractionist or non-objective, which is derived largely from the work of Paul Cézanne, that attempts to create pure painting – that is an art which will use form, color, and design for their own sakes and independent of man’s experience of life and his association with nature. I do not believe such an aim can be achieved by a human being. Whether we wish it or not, we are all bound to the earth with our experience of life; and the reactions of the mind, heart, and eye and our sensations by no means consist entirely of form, color, and design.

In the previous post, I discussed the meaning of Hopper’s convictions against abstractionist art. Basically Hopper believed that it is not possible to create a “pure” painting. He felt that a piece of art could not be disconnected to one’s experience of life; and contrary to the intention of abstract works, the experience of living as a human in the world cannot be simplified to just form, color, and design. To Hopper, purely abstractionist, non-objective art, with a focus solely on the artistic form, is just not possible to create as human beings.

So how does this relate to the world of dance? I was especially intrigued by this quote when I heard it because I felt that his argument was significant beyond the realm of visual art. The ideas of “pure art” and art relating to life can certainly translate to many art forms, including dance. This is how I would apply Hopper’s opinions to the art of dance: (more…)

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