Braque and Picasso's limitation of their subject matter (in Analytical Cubism) to simple still lifes and portraits has an interesting analogue in hypertext. The reason, I submit, that Picasso and Braque imposed such strict limitations on their subject matter was logistic. Cubism complicated the object so extensively that to try to paint and more complicated space in that style would have been nearly impossible. They limited their palettes for a similar reason. Color itself creates depth and greatly enhances the dynamics of the painting. It requires a great deal of painterly control to handle Cubist space and Braque and Picasso knew that variations in color would make their task infinitely more intractable.
Hypertext is young and none of the many paths which its pioneers have begun to lay out has been followed to its necessary completion, but nor has any been utterly abandoned. Consequently, while I can be sure that color, complex subject matter, and pure Analytical Cubism were never brought together, and I can speculate as to why, I can do neither in the analogue of hypertext. I must speak only from my own experience as a hypertext reader and author.
My belief is that for a writer to combine fully-developed characters, a complex narrative, and detailed description in a hypertext web is equally as difficult as for a painter to combine bright colors and a complicated scene in the style of Analytical Cubism, and for similar reasons. The fragmentation of narrative space in hypertext naturally and necessarily complicates it. Even in a simple web, one or two careless links can seriously disorient the reader. If the suject is simple, like the three character team (the monster, Mary Shelly, and the author) in Patchwork Girl by Shelly Jackson, the space can be made significantly complex without losing the reader. Jackson includes several short narratives and some incidental description, but she does not undermine the space by writing text with the complexity of, say, a novel. The interest of Patchwork Girl is in the links, and Jackson's creation is successfully Cubist.
As a counter-example, we might look at Afternoon, a Story by Michael Joyce. The storyline in Afternoon is fairly intricate. Joyce maintains suspense, provokes interest, and manages to provide some action sequences. What Afternoon lacks, however, is Cubist space. The sub-narratives in the story are entirely linear. The characters, although highly developed, are not at all ambiguous. Reading Afternoon is an experience of learning more, not seeing more.
As a painterly counterpart to hypertexts like Afternoon, Leger and Delaunay come to mind. Both artists bring bright colors to Cubism and Leger's subjects are usually more complicated than the simple still lives and portraits of Braque and Picasso. However --and this is the significant point-- Leger significanly simplifies the Cubist space and Delaunay elimintes subject matter entirely (I am thinking of his Orphic Cubist work). The conclusion is the same: complex subjects and complex space have not been successfully combined in Cubist space, either in painting or in narrative.
It occurs to me as possible that for all his genius, Picasso was not good enough to succeed in this combination. Perhaps if Braque had come out of the war in better condition, the two of them would have been able to. On the other hand, they may have made a conscious decision to pursue the flat pattern side of Cuism instead. Or maybe the combination is inherently impossible because of its complexity.
But maybe hypertext can pick up the thread and succeed where the painters failed.