The grid has functioned to declare the emergence of modernism. It declares the autonomy of art; walls the visual arts into a realm of exclusive visuality and defends them them from the intrusions of text; signifies art turning its back on nature and its embrace of geometry with its ideal forms and perfectly precise lines; and rejects linear perspective and its representation of reality.
If the grid is the figure of modernism
, then the "formal layout" of the grid signifies the prefabricated order of
a mathematical coordinate system. Right angles and straight lines were deemed to be so quintessentially modern, so expressive
of the machine age, that it functioned as the cornerstone of Western visual culture for much of the 20th century.
This picture entitled Burning
by Mark Valentine
transgresses the grid of modernism by undercutting
it as a figure of static repose and introducing dynamic movement. The flow of energy within the spaces of the grid indicate that grids are obsolete in network
True the dynamic movement is caught within the grid's white lines, and as there is no attempt to deconstruct the simple straight lines, we have a contradiction between a static geometric order and the complex, dynamic movement of becoming. We remain within the pristine forms and rigid structures rather than the grid morphing into forms that are dynamic rather
than rigid, organic rather than mechanical, and complex rather than simple.