Edouard Manet Formalismus Greenberg Impressionismus Offenes Kunstwerk

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Bild und Blick in Manets Malerei

Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag 2003.

Einleitung, Abschnitt III

Der Umstand, daß die Frage nach der Einheit des Œuvres offenblieb beziehungsweise implizit oder explizit negativ beantwortet wurde, wirkt sich auf das Verständnis von Manets kunsthistorischer Stellung aus. So beabsichtigen die folgenden Studien zugleich, zu einer differenzierteren bildgeschichtlichen Positionierung des Œuvres zu gelangen. Dafür muß Manet aus der formalistischen Sichtweise herausgelöst werden, die in ihm die Gründungsfigur einer Malerei der Flächigkeit und „reinen Optikalität“ (Clement Greenberg) erkennen will. Denn Manet ist kaum in das Schema einer Kunstentwicklung einzugliedern, die, von ihm ausgehend, über den Impressionismus, Cézanne und den späten Monet zum Abstrakten Expressionismus Jackson Pollocks oder Barnett Newmans führen soll. Manet initiiert auch nicht den Übergang vom Bild als ‚Körper‘ zum Bild als ‚Feld‘. Blickt man auf die Kunst des späteren 19. und des 20. Jahrhunderts, so verweisen Manets Bilder in ihrer Widersprüchlichkeit und ihrem ausdrücklichen Betrachterbezug vielmehr auf einen anderen Aspekt der Moderne. Seine Malerei hat, schlagwortartig gesagt, mehr mit Umberto Ecos „offenem Kunstwerk“ als mit Greenbergs „pure opticality“ zu tun.
Für Manets bildgeschichtliche Positionierung ist die Bilderkette, die ihn mit der Vergangenheit verbindet, von genauso großer Bedeutung. Manet pflegte ein intensives ‚Gespräch‘ mit den alten Meistern. Dabei ging es ihm keineswegs, wie so oft behauptet wird, um die Distanzierung, ja Liquidierung der Tradition, mit dem Ziel, die Tabula rasa der Moderne zu eröffnen. Vergleicht man Manets Olympia mit Tizians Venere d’Urbino oder L’exécution de Maximilien mit Francisco de Goyas 3 de mayo, aber auch, was sich auf den ersten Blick weniger aufzudrängen scheint, Un bar aux Folies-Bergère mit Diego Velázquez’ Las Meninas, gelangt man zu einem anderen Ergebnis. Zwischen Manets Gemälden und den Bildern, auf die er sich bezog, sind die Übereinstimmungen nämlich ebenso signifikant wie die Differenzen. Das zeigt sich besonders deutlich, wenn man die jeweiligen Bildpaare vor dem Hintergrund der zeitgenössischen akademischen Malerei betrachtet. Vor der Folie von Alexandre Cabanels Naissance de Vénus rücken Olympia und Tizians Venere d’Urbino erstaunlich nahe zusammen. Das aber eröffnet die Frage, was diese beiden Bilder gemeinsam haben und über die Zeiten hinweg miteinander verbindet. Manets Malerei eröffnet die Chance, nicht nur – einmal mehr – die Kluft zwischen Tradition und Moderne zu betonen, sondern auch nach den Merkmalen zu fragen, die Tizians oder Velázquez’ Malerei mit dem ‚offenen Kunstwerk‘ der Moderne verknüpft. Greift die modernistische Rede von der tabula rasa zu kurz, so sollte man andererseits auch der postmodernen Versuchung widerstehen, im häufigen Zitieren und Umarbeiten älterer Gemälde eine proto-surrealistische Assemblage-Technik oder eine ‚Appropriations-Kunst‘ avant la lettre erkennen zu wollen. Manets Œuvre, so die hier auszuführende These, ist ein bildgeschichtliches Scharnier, das Tradition und Moderne zugleich trennt und verbindet. Im Rekurs auf die Tradition suchte Manet nach deren unabgegoltenem Potential, um es für die eigenen, gegenwartsbezogenen Absichten fruchtbar zu machen.

Bild und Blick im Zeichen künstlerischer Autonomie
Abschnitt II
punkt Abschnitt III
Edouard Manet - Pfeil Abschnitt IV
Abschnitt V
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