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Lecture 4

Week 4: Malevich, Mondrian, Suprematism, etc.

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University of Toronto St. George
Mark Cheetham

FAH246 Week 4: Malevich and etc. 10/3/12 -Malevich – “Zaum” = “NO | THING” = art of abstraction, of nothing + something -not representational, even more abstract than cubism -suprematism takes art down to its simplest units -it became a VERY popular Soviet art form because itexemplified perfect ideal Communist relationships -> **prof is into historical contexts!!!! -painting Black Square, 19??? -abstract art is not just the subjective art of some artists, can be highly social as well -> eg. Soviet Communism -Kandinsky, Improvisation no. 7, 1910 -K. was a pedagogue who wrote extensively on his theories -1912, writes “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” for K. abstract art was a way of finding “the absolute”/”transcendence” -> one of them were Christian motifs eg. “The Blue Riders,” also on Theosophy -the painting looks like landscape; motifs seem to connect to the world I know, and then we’re taken through a work – through musical analogy – into work that’s non-figurative -biological, biomorphic, organic source -> the source of abstract art first seen in landscape -eg. Kupka, The First Step, 1909 -> doesn’t symbolize planetary motions nor “music of the spheres,” but wanted to train the eye to look beyond everyday visions and access the transcendental -look at Kupka “Vertical Planes #1, 1912” and “Amorpha: Fugue in Two Colours, 1912” -music = powerful analogy for abstraction and therefore a useful analogy Mondrian, Blue Tree, c. 1908 -tree has a visual snap due to blue + yellow contrast -breakdown of forms -interest in nature and motifs -ironic relationship with nature bc he saw nature as uncontrollable, he hated the colour green: wanted NEOPLASTICISM, a stable imagining of reality Mondrian, Evolution, 1911 -spiritual evolution-> tryptic composition, religious significance -moves from Left to right -> moves from earth to spiritual planes -most left: naturalistic belly-button, moves to most right: belly button is a perfect diamond (4 = magical number) -in the center, she is “androgynous”; her vision looks THROUGH you (transcendant) -flowers/motifs by shoulders are borrowed from Eastern orthodox art -this work is TOO early to be abstract Mondrian, Composition #3 w 1912-13, Composition 1, 1913 -move into abstraction -his Cubism , like that of many artists, is a revisioning (Secondary Cubism) of the first -cubizes nature; diminishes contact w/ visual world Composition No. 3, Red, Yellow, and Blue, 1935 -has distributed pieces of colour throughout so carefully that the eye NEVER rests -“equilibration” – equal but dynamically moving -NEOPLASTICISM -> this is not painted, is not PLASTIC in the sense of the material, but PLASTIC in the sense it’s “malleable,” can be changed -bias: dedicated his work to “MEN of the future” – utopian envision of society; gender bias Garrick ???? -chair colours reflects Mondrian’s style -reworked chair => with green spots instead of yellow = “DISEASED Mondrian”(he hated green) BAUHAUS -school of art in Germany developed when the country was in great flux -closed down by Nazis ( went against National Socialist policy( -started in Weimar, then Dassau, then ended in Berlin -Russian Constructivism, and Bauhaus, tries to make art USEFUL: technically innovative school -> Kandisnsky, Klee, egc. Taught there -art as PART of society -included many women too!  -1929: Communist Revolution in Germany which resulted in backlash and set the backdrop for Nazism; Bauhaus was NOT communist but had communist, communal, functional ideas -imp for architecture Marrianne Brandt, Desk Lamp, Model designed for Kandem Firm, 1929 Kandinsky, At Rest, 1928 -style pf Bauhaus, done while teaching there a lot of different activity happened in Bauhaus, Kandinsky started moving away from spiritual origins. Klee, Ancient Sound, 1925 (pron. “Klay”) -Klee, Fish Magic, 1925 -dark image -has a rhythm of its own -aquarium within an aquarium effect everywhere -seems like a curtain’s being pulled back to reveal the painting -form of crystal in middle is growing a clock-face Mohology-Nagy, Light Space Modulator -created
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