Written by Ana Beatriz García

We will see that The Plane can be understood in many ways and that at the same time all of them are related. The word Plane comes from the Latin word planus, which means flat. The plane is defined as any two-dimensional surface, that is, that can be measured in width and height.

The plane has been applied in various fields of knowledge as a graphic representation. We could think of mathematics, geometry, geography, design or architecture and urban planning, engineering, and construction. In this sense, planes usually have the function of design, calculation, projection and visualization of objects and spaces.

Volumen arquitectónico.Suite In|Bíliqo - Pristowscheg

The plane can also be revealed to us as a figure with a delimited area, which in relation to the environment that surrounds it, is an independent entity. This plane is represented by a contour line that delimits it, by a shape with color, but without a contour line, or also by a textured shape or surface. These planes can be basic or regular, that is, geometric shapes, with sides or angles of equal length (think of a plane in the shape of a circle, square or equilateral triangle). They can also be irregular, if they have sides and angles of different measures, variable, or unequal contours.

Kandinsky in Point and Line to Plane defines the plane as “the material surface called to receive the content of the artwork.” In this sense, he refers to the plane as the format and support of a two-dimensional artistic object. Being a material, it has a texture that depends on the nature of its elaboration, so it can be smooth, rough, grainy, sharp, shiny, opaque, plastic, etc.

In any case, The Plane is an element that has great expressive power, because in addition to having its own particular characteristics, as Kandinsky assures, it is “the source of enormous possibilities of composition”, it is where it happens and is built. If we observe regular planes, for example, these tend to produce a visual sensation of calm, order, balance, and stability; irregular planes could communicate instability or movement. If we make a composition with representations of planes, tensions and effects can be created. For example, if we overlap them, we could establish visual relationships of closeness or distance. If we need to represent depth in an artwork, we could make a composition with flat shapes that decrease in size: the smaller the shape, the further away the object is. If we want to draw an object that has three dimensions, we can represent its volume using geometric planes linked together. A line only has length, a plane has two dimensions, but if we take several planes together, in different directions, we can build a figure with volume, three-dimensional, that has height, length and width.

Compatibles - Magdalena Roglich

In painting, as well as in the rest of the visual arts, each cut along the simulated or inferred depth in the artwork is also called Plane. In this way, the Foreground or First Plane is where the things closest to the artist or the viewer are captured, the Middle Plane, as its name says, places the objects in the middle distance and is where the objects of interest are usually focused. And the Background Plane, locates the objects that are behind the object of interest, or what appears as context.

In cinematography and photography, the plane is the basic unit of audiovisual language and refers to the imaginary surface that the camera collects through the lens. In this case it is also a concept linked to composition, according to the position and height of people and objects. Some of the types of photographic and cinematographic planes are the Panoramic Plane or Big Long Shot, which shows a large stage or a crowd, where the subject or object is not there or is diluted in the environment. The Wide Plane or Long Shot shows an object or person in an environment that gives them context. The American Plane or American Shot shows three-quarters of the image of the subject, the Medium Long shows the subject up to the hips, with some context, the Medium Short shows him up to the chest. The Close-up shows only the subject’s face. The Detail Plane or Big Close-up focuses on a detail of the subject or object captured. As we can see, in these cases, the plane is also a graphic and two-dimensional representation of reality.


Hacia el cielo - Maria De Las Casas

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