FAH246 –Oct 4th
Cubism: Mondrian, Malevich
With the titling of these works he makes allusion to topics of war and
aviation incidents, not common within cubism.
Extremely tumultuous time, before 1917 rev.
Journey through cubism, start to put in elements that we would
consider monochromatic, which perform cubist functions that
flatten different planes in image
Flat surface announces the reality of 2d,
An abstract element, not an abstract painting (still quite legible), but is looking back.
He was experimenting with these monochromatic forms in different contexts and
Not just a formal exercise or refining the means of painting to take the central example
down to its elements
Get down to surface of 2d, distribution of color, certainly not at the advent of
abstract art, not just about itself and the internal relationships. For Malevich,
Abstraction was not just about itself and internal relationships. It was about much
For Malevich it was extraordinarily spiritual and transcendental
–zeun, nothingness in the fullest sense. Not just absence, but an impossible juxtaposition of
absence and fullness.
Single monochromatic trademark, not always squares, slightly different forms. Pure feeling
Juxtaposition and dynamism of parts in suprematism
Makes cubism look old fashioned
No figure but relationships
Abstraction isn’t figurative, but you have relationships. Both formal within painting
surface but social within the new society they are part of.
It was a social movement, idealistic role
Exemplified socialist relationships within abstract space.
Broad socially involved movement –abstraction happened in a number of European
cities. Russian was one of the beginning points.
Became famous because it was a social movement
Abstraction tried to exemplified social relationships within this abstract space
Impoverishment of modern art
Mostly for political reasons spent increasing amount of time outside Russia. He was
a teacher too. One of the reasons they wrote so much its because they were
pedagogues and taught their believes. Concerning the Spiritual in Art – a quest, an inner necessity. Discover the absolute.
One of the ways of doing this would be explicitly Christian.
Sources for abstraction
Tertium Organum: book about the fourth dimension
Theosophy: Russian migrator- was a kind of collected conglomeration of dif religious views
(Western, Eastern, Jewish) into this new spirituality became a powerful cult and had a
bigger following. Kandinsky and Mondrian
Important event in the advent of abstract art.
synesthesia: triggering of response by another media. Powerful analogy because you cant
tie it to the visual world.
Yellow Sound by Kandinsky
Kandinsky put elements in his earlier pieces that kind of looked like landscapes, and
would make you understand what is going on. They are connected to visual world
that we understand, but he takes you gradually away into works that are non-
Malevich the beginning point for abstraction is nature and landscape.
Also interested in music as source of inspiration and an analogy.
Innovators of abstraction
- doesn’t represent planetary motion, open to question
- tries to educate your eye beyond everydays vision
- powerful analogy for abstraction because we cant tie it to the visible world directly.
Reason why it was used . major source, but not the only way. More important as an
analogy than as a source, more for Kandinsky and Kupka than Mondrian
-innovator of abstract art
- Started with observation of nature, elements like the ocean, patterning effects
- expressionistic tree
- He hated green, because he saw it ultimately linked to chance,
- neo-plasticism was interested in giving stable image/vision of reality, one that wasn’t
susceptible to chance occurring in nature.
programmatic painting, unlike his work, very didactic.
Period Infected by theosophy.
Spiritual evolution, from being tied to complete spiritual
Moves in tipical triptic fashion. The middle is where she is
the most connected Flower used as symbol of enlightment, ascension into high realm. She androgynous
in the center.
The kind of vision that looks through you, beyond everyday reality.
These symbols point to a mental enlightment, very Eastern. Close to theosophy and
Fundamental for what he is trying to do with abstraction, find delight that goes
beyond everyday reality and the randomness of nature.
Before him, artists modified cubism and used it for their own
Focused on nature and the sense of diminishing the contact with the
Constant experimentation with fewer forms. An image with grey
which he later rejected, right angle intersection and primary colors.
Never used something that would remind you at all.
never allow your eyes to rest