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Artists are widely known for uniquely perceiving the world, which is often unavailable to other people living in their times, but highly appreciated as a valuable piece of knowledge later. Oskar Schlemmer, a German painter associated with the Bauhaus school, sees the physical body in the space in a specific way, connecting it with the surrounding (Blumberg & Ferry, 2021). This essay will examine Oskar’s creativity to reveal how he perceives the human body in relation to the design of the environment to learn more about the psychological aspect.
The Relationship Between the Human Body and the Environment
Primary, Oskar was fascinated with the synthesis of art and architecture, which had significantly influenced the way he was seeing and created his paintings. According to Sotheby’s (2019), “he focused on positioning figures within a pictorial space, which he formed by opposing horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes (para. 3). It implies that the emphasis of his masterpieces is the objects, often human bodies, in space. Taking into consideration that previously, Oskar’s paining were strictly flat ones, introducing the third dimension shows the ongoing desire to investigate how figures are related to the environment. The instance of his work that can provide an insight into the discussed conception is “Tischgesellschaft” or “Group at Table,” painted in 1923 (Sotheby’s, 2019). It portrays a girl sitting at the table with two other figures shown from different directions. There is also a standing figure, which might serve as an indicator of the depth of the painting, along with other objects. Therefore, considering the mentioned nuances, a new way of viewing and painting can indicate the changes in the manner of thinking of the artist, along with the desire for experiments.
The most famous creation of Oskar Schlemmer, “Das Triadische Ballett” or “The Triadic Ballet,” is also a significant representation of how the artist sees the relationship between the human body in space and the surrounding environment. Oskar believed that the theater is a sacred place, and according to Shafaieh (2019), “He believed that walking, standing, and sitting are very serious” as well as seeing the figure on stage (para. 12). Simultaneously, the “Stick Dance,” which is the part of the ballet, is the extension of the golden mean into space because our anatomical form is based on those proportions (Shafaieh, 2019, para. 12). It implies that the author was psychologically obsessed with meeting the metaphysical needs of the spectator to show them the direct dependency between the environment they are into and their physical shell.
Oskar’s intervention through his conception of theater indicates the vital understanding the author possessed. The fusion of sound, light, color, form, movement, the position of figures in the space formulates an ontology centered on the body (Shafaieh, 2019, para. 8). It is possible to state that Oskar was about to acknowledge who people are and what they should become through bodily experience. Therefore, there is a deep phycological sense in the composition of his painting and the bralette’s scenes.
Finally, experimentations accomplished by Schlemmer were necessary for achieving other goals and representation complimentary psychological aspects of the relationship between the human body and the design of the environment he is surrounded with. According to Sotheby’s (2019), Oskar said that “My themes – the human figure in space, its moving and stationary functions, sitting, lying, walking, standing – are as simple as they are universally valid” (para. 8). It derives into understanding that the artist tried to capture the feeling of space through simplified objects’ forms to leave only the function of the surrounding environment.
The mentioned statements contribute to the clear phycological dependency, vital in post-war Germany plagued by misery and a sense of alienation because of industrialization. It is possible to state that people were unprepared to see the new way through the reality they were living in, and Oskar advocated play instead of melancholic reflection (Shafaieh, 2019). He insisted that people should try to figure out what good might come and to realize the degree they can achieve a sense of themselves, their capabilities, and capacities, despite constraints. It can also be considered an attempt to escape from problems into a phantasmatic world of design, where forms, shapes, bodies, and dimensions are simplified and united (Shafaieh, 2019). It was a shift from industrial construction to the design of biological systems or the body itself. Therefore, there is a deep phycological meaning o underlines the works of Oskar, as well as the intentions they were created with.
Oskar Schlemmer was adept of the new form of creativity that emphasizes the relation between the physical bodies in space and the surrounding environment they exist in. His works are simplified to not distract with unnecessary details from the vital meaning. The author’s initial desire was to conduct experiments with forms, shapes, and the locations of figures in space that derived from deeper psychological factors. Oskar has his unique knowledge of what humans are in life and tried to reveal it to others who used to live in misery because of the past war and industrialization.
Blumberg, N. and Ferry, E. (2021). Oskar Schlemmer. Encyclopedia Britannica.
Sotheby’s (2019). Oskar Schlemmer’s Travels Through Space.