Picabia’s journey to America was filled with excitement and with a great cultural and intellectual stimulation that made a profound impact on the work he produced subsequently. In an interview given during his stay in New York he commented: “I am seeking a certain balance, through tones of color or shades, in order to express the sensations I receive from things in the manner of a leitmotiv in a musical symphony. Creative art is not interested in the imitation of objects” (quoted in World Magazine, 1913). This sentiment is beautifully realized in the present composition, which appears to pulsate with a sense of rhythm and movement.
Picabia’s wit also extended to the willfully obtuse titles he gave to his abstract works as emphasized by the title of the present work Force Comique or Comical Force. William A. Camfield writes: “In some instances, the titles themselves suggest jest or mockery, as in En badinant (in jest, playfully) and Embarras (trouble/problem/hindrance). In Chose admirable à voir, mockery exists in the disconnect between the title and image inasmuch as that ‘thing admirable to see’ is one of the most chaotic compositions in Picabia’s entire career… Apollinaire, however, did record at that time their mutual interest regarding the interface of art and words, of the visual and linguistic. Apollinaire was composing ‘calligramme’ poems in the form of visual images, and he made an intriguing reference to what he called Picabia’s ‘poèmes peints’” (W.A. Camfield et al., Op. cit., pp. 94 & 96). These comments demonstrate that in 1914 Picabia was already moving away from his purist abstract concerns of the previous two years, and towards a Dadaist sensibility that reveled in mockery and badinage.
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