Fernand Leger in the Three Women, 1921, was also inspired by factories and machine parts in his reconfiguration of women’s bodies (objectification and fragmentation). Is this optimistic or pessimistic? Is the transformation of flesh into machine positive or negative?


Like Kirchner’s narrative of shoppers in Germany, this is a reflection of the dehumanization of the body as a result of the cult of the machine and the factory aesthetic. When flesh becomes metal or tin, as in the Wizard of Oz, no heart beats within.

Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913, discussed earlier in respect to muscles and movement, evidences the artist’s choice of mechanical movement as the ideal of beauty. Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase II, 1912, similarly represents negative influences (technology and the love of the machine) on humanity. In this painting, the “nude”, the epitome of the Neoplatonic ideal, the absolute perfection to which humans strive, has been reconfigured in terms of robotics.