Further Discussing his intention and process i would like to dive into his idea of minimalism, abstraction, and nomadism.
In the book Atlas of Emotion, Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film by Giuliana Bruno, these ideas are explored and dissected.
“Described by martin Scorsese as someone who makes films “with the curiosity of an explorer and the precision of a surgeon” this is the filmmaker who once told Mark Rothko; “Your paintings are like my films—they are about nothing…with precision.”
The meticulous hand and mind of Antononi is conveyed coherently in all of his films, and the fact that he compared his films to Rothko’s paintings, is evidence that he is very self aware of his intentions and practice. His use of the landscape is like that of a landscape painter, abstract expressionist, and a sculptor.
Michael fried explains this with cogency,
“Watching Antonioni’s films, one may at first find it hard to imagine that his cinema is related to landscape painting. Yet it is, for he is a modern landscape painter, grasping ahead for the architectonics of minimalism, which, as the art historian Michael Fried has shown, entails a scenography which space makes “room” for and object hood emerges from the changes views of a mobile beholder.”
His sense of space, architecture and topography is that of painter, and the way he uses the frame of the 35 mm camera is similar to the way a painter uses his canvas. The difference is, is that he evokes the scenography of space and objects in the projection of light, which ultimatley moves and changes the viewers visual and emotion being.
“Antonioni ventures into this minimalist geography, which is a spatialization of experience. In this sense, the particular mise-end-scene of his paintings expose the texture of his topophilic filmic geography: the “architextural” landscape of his cinema is laid bare on the landscape of the canvas.”
This passage further explores his use of the landscape laid on celluloid, and the experience of watching his films are like that experiencing a textural painting.
This final passage really drives my concept and perception of Antonioni’s practice,
“As a filmmaker Antonioni has fabricated an aesthetic based on the filmic anatomy of space. But architectural dissection accompanies geophysic transformation in Antonioni’s films. This is activated mostly by the haptic sense of his female characters, who wander constantly in their psychogeographic journeys. Nomadism, often gendered female, is indeed the “house” in which the films move. They ask us to move with them, through the space of an emotional architecture.”
His fabricated aesthetic is one that i deeply admire and aspire to represent and evoke in my own work. His filmic anatomy of space is very specialized and particular to his practice. His dissection of the landscape and the forms that are found within it, are abstracted, flatted, and accented by his formal filmic techniques and qualities. The exploration of the landscape by his characters are put into place because their presence aids and heightens the awareness of our surroundings and his compositions. The use nomadic or wandering woman in his films, denotes many ideas of search for meaning and confusion. As a passive viewer of films, Antonioni asks us to remain the viewer but also move through the spaces and abstractions he has created for us. His aesthetic vision and concept of space is pushed onto us, which becomes an experience through his eyes.