Title / object name
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Flight, Claude ||printmaker ||circa 1922 |
colored ink, rice paper
|Image ||222 (Height) x 285 (Width) mm|
|Support ||250 (Height) x 316 (Width) mm|
Gift of Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
Speed is a linocut depicting a busy London street scene with buildings, buses, and people in a stylised decorative pattern emphasising shape and contour. The shape of the bus on the extreme right seems to merge with the tall building immediately behind it through the integration of curvilinear lines. These give the impression that the vehicle is moving quickly out of the right hand section of the image. With the two other buses in the middle distance, this creates a visual tension between the flatness of the image and the strong diagonal line created by the buses. The title of the work, except for the final 'd', appears on the bus on the extreme right, emphasising the impression of velocity.
The dynamics of modern life
The dynamics of modern life and their effects on cities and their inhabitants were a special area of interest for Claude Flight and other artists (such as Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews) from the Grosvenor School of Modern Art where Flight was a teacher and mentor. These artists were inspired by the Italian Futurist poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who had declared London to be a Futurist city with its 'brilliant hued motor buses and the Underground'. They expressed these aspects of modern life in their images through the use of bright decorative colours and repeated rhythmic patterns and shapes. Flight calculated that linocuts would be cheap to produce and therefore more accessible to the general public. In practice this did not eventuate.
Speed is one of the ninety-five linocuts in Te Papa's collection by artists of the Grosvenor School.