#art, «Abstract Art» in the Words of Two Great Masters

(«The Traveller» original acrylic on glass by FBC/Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia/All Rights Reserved)

Wassily Kandinsky, even though we now know that he was not the inventor of abstract art, we do understand that he was one of the first, together with Piet Mondrian, to theorise about this art form. Abstract art was one of the art vanguards of the XXth Century. It was, or is, I would say, the most successful one.

In any event here is what Kandinsky had to say:

«Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.»

«The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.«

«Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated.«

I think this last quote is a very interesting and important one for artists, and generally for lovers of art. Art is and has to be a child of its age. All art is at one time contemporary and it must reflect the reality of that age, the thinking and the styles common to that age. After all this the age wherein the artist lives, and where he understands better the feelings, emotions and the events that transpire and make history. Copying from another age might lead to technical perfection but without soul. The soul, the true spirit of art which renders it eternal comes from it being a child of its age, as Kandinsky so well said.

Of course there have been many other artists in art history who have theorised about art, abstract art as well. Let us see what Mark Rothko had to say:

«We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless.»

«Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness.«

«I insist upon the equal existence of the world engendered in the mind and the world engendered by God outside of it. If I have faltered in the use of familiar objects, it is because I refuse to mutilate their appearance for the sake of an action which they are too old to serve, or for which perhaps they had never been intended. I quarrel with surrealists and abstract art only as one quarrels with his father and mother; recognizing the inevitability and function of my roots, but insistent upon my dissent; I, being both they and an integral completely independent of them

In this last quote Rothko, a very spiritual artist indeed, speaks of surrealism and abstract art as being the «father and mother» of his work. Rothko traversed many types of art until he finally settled upon abstract. In his abstract art, huge canvases of colour, only colour, he placed all his philosophy, intention, theories and spirituality. And they are good. And as he himself said, «There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.»

I am not an abstract artist, however, I do study the style, the genre and I find it to be very difficult indeed. Abstract art is not splashing paint on canvas, or anything else and then calling it a painting. Mark Rothko also enumerated, in 1958, what is necessary in a painting:

«There must be a clear preoccupation with death—intimations of mortality … Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.
Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship with things that exist.
Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
Irony, This is a modern ingredient—the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.
Wit and play … for the human element.
The ephemeral and chance … for the human element.
Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements.

(From the book/catalogue Achim Borchardt-Hume «Rothko» exhibition at the London: Tate Gallery, 2008)

To create an abstract painting one must face the same problems as one would in painting a figurative one. There are issues of technique, form, style, composition, colour, size, et cetera et cetera et cetera… Art is not intuitive. It is a philosophical process that must be developed, cooked over a slow fire and allowed to simmer, then cool before spreading it on a surface.



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18 Comentarios

    1. Thank you so much Cassa! All the best.

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    1. Thank you so much my friend. A happy day to you!

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  1. Easymalc dice:

    Thank you for this post Francesc. As I’ve said before, I like to know what’s going on in artist’s mind so that I can understand what he or she has produced. Now, I can’t pretend to agree with, or even understand, what some of these artists are saying, but it’s good to know. One thing I do agree with is Kandinsky’s quote that “Art is and has to be a child of its age”. I feel the same way about history in general and why it shouldn’t be erased because it doesn’t fit in with people’s thinking of today.

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    1. A very valid point about history that I completely agree with. Very well said. History can be repeated but never erased. All the best Malc!

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      1. Easymalc dice:

        Thanks for the endorsement Francesc. Have a great Friday and weekend ahead.

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      2. You’re welcome Malc! You too!

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  2. I wondered if you wrote the music for your videos! Very nice!

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    1. Thank you Dawn! I am so glad you liked it, and the music.

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  3. worldphoto12 dice:

    buon sabato Valencia

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    1. Grazie! Buongiorno e buona giornata anche a te! Saluti 😊

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      1. worldphoto12 dice:

        Grazie Valencia buona domenica.

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      2. Grazie! Anche a te!

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