How can we define a genius? By repeating an endless list of achievements, discoveries, or overwhelming originality in the different disciplines practiced? Taking the pen of the biographer to show the reasons that took them to behave -like it is usually the case- in a hostile way, punishing and sharp, against the society that surrounded them? The life and work of Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) can be subject of all these actions, but hold so much more: the history of a precursor in almost every way that remained relegated to a secondary position as if he had not had any importance; the obstinate enterprise of heading the geometric abstract art in England, in a time when Postimpressionism was the leading trend and still life the object of desire, and of figurative art once that painting had surrendered to abstract art; but above all, the futuristic vision of man who defined himself as "the Enemy" to be able to continue his heroic defense of the modernity he developed for almost fifty years before the time of his death. Lewis is indeed one of the most complete and recognizable painters of the 20th century, an imaginative novelist, a keen essayist, but also someone who paid more for his mistakes than for his triumphs.
Until a decade ago, most of the studies on English-speaking Modernism devoted hundreds of thousands of pages to judge an enormous city like London, and shine light over its complex macrocosmos through just a few windows around two squares of the Bloomsbury neighborhood. Nevertheless, the floating population of writers and artists living in the English capital along the year prior to the First World War was comparable to the current one in New York, and very superior in quality if we take into consideration that together with those artists officially belonging to the Bloomsbury Group, we also had writers the size of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Chesterton, H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Wyndham Lewis, Arthur Symons, and D. H. Lawrence, just to cite a few of the most popular. Until the present, Lewis has been neglected among these names, although in his days he was one of the most breaking and controversial artist and writer. Along the series of conferences "Portraits" we will get closer to the Lewisian universe from all the different points of view that the multiple disciplines of this complex author allows.
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