Les disques, 1918
In 1914-18, Léger was faced with the horrors of war in the trenches. This experience changed his life. As a result, he turned increasingly to the directly visible world, the modern human habitat and the objects that surround us. His great theme became the big city and its architecture, advertising signs, and emblems. A major work of this period – and a key picture in early modernism as a whole – is the monumental Les disques (The Disks), 1918. The image consists of an arrangement of planes and shapes that evokes the visual world of the big city with its signs and emblems. At the same time, Léger overcomes everything static here, the composition giving the impression of rotating, moving elements. It is a dynamic vision of a world increasingly determined by technology.