Non Figurative Art

What is Modern Art. Non Figurative Art.


1918. De Stijl.

Dutch nonfigurative art movement, also called neoplasticism. In 1917 a group of artists, architects, and poets was organized under the name de Stijl, and a journal of the same name was initiated. The leaders of the movement were the artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. They advocated a purification of art, eliminating subject matter in favor of vertical and horizontal elements, and the use of primary colors and noncolors. Their austerity of expression influenced architects, principally J.J.P.Oud and Gerrit Rietveld. The movement lasted until 1931; in architecture a few de Stijl principles are still applied.

De Stijl, Manifest by Theo van Doesburg

1. There is an old and a new consciousness of time.
The old is connected with the individual.
The new is connected with the universal.
The struggle of the individual against the universal is revealing itself in the world-war as well as in the art of the present day.
2. The war is destroying the old world with its contents: individual domination in every state.
3. The new art has brought forward what the new consciousness of time contains: a balance between the universal and the individual.
4. The new consciousness is prepared to realise the internal life as well as the external life.
5. Traditions, dogmas and the domination of the individual are opposed to this realisation.
6. The founders of the new plastic art therefore call upon all, who believe in the reformation of art and culture, to annihilate these obstacles of development, as they have annihilated in the new plastic art (by abolishing natural form) that, which prevents the clear expression of art, the utmost consequence of all art notion.
7. The artists of to-day have been driven the whole world over by the same consciousness, and therefore have taken part from an intellectual point of view in this war against the domination of individual despotism. They therefore sympathize with all, who work for the formation of an international unity in Life, Art, Culture, either intellectually or materially.
8. The monthly editions of „The Style”, founded for that purpose, try to attain the new wisdom of life in an exact manner.
9. Co-operation is possible by:
I. Sending, with entire approval, name, address and profession ro the editor of „The Style”.
II. Sending critical philosophical, architectural, scientific, litterary, musical articles or reproductions.
III. Translating articles in different languages or distributing thoughts published in „The Style”.

Artists of “The Stijl”: Arp, Jean, Doesburg, Theo van, Domela, Cesar, Ebneth, Lajos, Eesteren, Cornelis van, Huszar, Vilmos, Leck, Bart van der, Lissitzky, El, Mondrian, Piet, Oud, J.J.P., Rietveld, Gerrit, Taeuber-Arp, Sophie, Vantongerloo, Georges, Vordemberge-Gildewart, Friedrich, Wils, Jan, Zwart, Piet

de stijlde stijl
Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1919. Constructivism.

International Constructivism refers to the optimistic, abstract art that emerged in Europe in the 1920’s. Constructivism was an invention of the Russian avant-garde that found adherents across the continent. Germany was the site of the most Constructivist activity outside of the Soviet Union (especially as home to Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus, a progressive art and design school sympathetic to the movement) but Constructivist ideas were also carried to other art centers, like Paris, London, and eventually the United States.

From The Realistic Manifesto by Pevsner and Gabo: Space and time are re-born to us today. Space and time are the only forms on which life is built and hence art must
be constructed. States, political and economic systems perish, ideas crumble, under the strain of ages…but life is strong and grows and time goes on in its real continuity…

That is why we in creating things take away from the labels of their owners…all accidental and local, leaving only the reality of the constant rhythms, their own orbits.
1. Thence in painting we renounce colour as a pictoral element, colour is the idealized optical surface of objects; an exterior and superficial impression of them; colour is accidential and it has nothing in common with the innermost essence of a thing.
We affirm that the tone of substance, i.e. its light-absorbing material body is its only pictural reality.
2. We renounce in a line, its descrptive value; in real life there are no descriptive lines, descriptition is an accidental trace of a man on things, it is not bound up with the essential life and constant structure of the body. Descriptiveness is an element of graphic illustration and decoration.
We affirm the line only as a direction of the static forces and their rhythm in objects.
3. We renounce volume as a pictural and plastic form of space; one cannot measure space in volumes as one cannot measure liquid in yards; look at our space…what is it if not one continuous depth?
We affirm depth as the only pictural and plastic form of space.

Artists of Constructivism: Altman, Natan, Berlewi, Henryk, Buchholz, Erich, Calderara, Antonio, Dexel, Walter, Gabo, Naum, Kassak, Lajos, Kobro, Katarzyna, Lissitzky, El, Malevich, Kasimir, Martin, Kenneth, Mashkov, Ilya, Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo, Pevsner, Antoine, Popova, Liubov, Richter, Hans, Rodchenko, Alexander, Stazewski, Henryk, Stepanova, Varvara, Tatlin, Vladimir, Vesnin, Alexander

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1915. Suprematism.

From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting. Kazimir Malevich: “I felt only night within me and it was then that I conceived the new art, which I called Suprematism.”
Only with the disappearance of a habit of mind which sees in pictures little corners of nature, Madonnas and shameless Venuses, shall we witness a work of pure, living art.
I have transformed myself in the zero of form and dragged myself out of the rubbish- filled pool of Academic art.
I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and escaped from the circle of things, from the horizon-ring which confines the artist and the forms of nature.
This accursed ring, which opens up newer and newer prospects, leads the artist away, from the target of destruction.
And only a cowardly consciousness and meager creative powers in an artist are deceived by this fraud and base their art on the forms of nature, afraid of losing the foundation on which the savage and the academy have based their art.
To reproduce beloved objects and little corners of nature is just like a thief being enraptured by his legs in irons.
Only dull and impotent artists screen their work with sincerity. In art there is a need for truth, not sincerity.
Things have disappeared like smoke; to gain the new artistic culture, art approaches creation as an end in itself and domination over the forms of nature…pdf

Artists of Suprematism:Chashnik, Ilya, Coventry, Keith, Kliun, Ivan, Lissitzky, El, Malevich, Kasimir, Mayakovski, Vladimir, Popova, Liubov, Puni, Ivan, Rozanova, Olga, Stazewski, Henryk, Strzeminski, Wladyslaw, Suetin, Nikolai

Kazimir Malevich, Olga Rozanova, Vladimir Mayakovski. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1911. Bauhaus.

Bauhaus (bou’hous’), school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius at Weimar, Germany, and later located successively at Dessau, Berlin, and Chicago, to develop a functional architecture based on a correlation between creative design and modern industry and science.

Bauhaus Manifest, by Walter Gropius: The ultimate aim of all creative activity is a building! The decoration of buildings was once the noblest function of fine arts, and fine arts were indispensable to great architecture. Today they exist in complacent isolation, and can only be rescued by the conscious co-operation and collaboration of all craftsmen. Architects, painters, and sculptors must once again come to know and comprehend the composite character of a building, both as an entity and in terms of its various parts. Then their work will be filled with that true architectonic spirit which, as “salon art”, it has lost.

The old art schools were unable to produce this unity; and how, indeed, should they have done so, since art cannot be taught? Schools must return to the workshop. The world of the pattern-designer and applied artist, consisting only of drawing and painting must become once again a world in which things are built. If the young person who rejoices in creative activity now begins his career as in the older days by learning a craft, then the unproductive “artist” will no longer be condemned to inadequate artistry, for his skills will be preserved for the crafts in which he can achieve great things.

Architects, painters, sculptors, we must all return to crafts! For there is no such thing as “professional art”. There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. By the grace of Heaven and in rare moments of inspiration which transcend the will, art may unconsciously blossom from the labour of his hand, but a base in handicrafts is essential to every artist. It is there that the original source of creativity lies.

Let us therefore create a new guild of craftsmen without the class-distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artists! Let us desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future together. It will combine architecture, sculpture, and painting in a single form, and will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith.

Artists of “Bauhaus”: Albers, Josef, Albers, Anni, Bayer, Herbert, Behrens, Peter, Bill, Max, Breuer, Marcel, Citroen, Paul, Feininger, Andreas, Feininger, Lyonel, Feininger, T Lux, Gropius, Walter, Henri, Florence, Itten, Johannes, Kandinsky, Wassily, Klee, Paul, Marcks, Gerhard, Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig , Moholy, Lucia, Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo, Muche, Georg, Reich, Lilly, Schlemmer, Oskar, Stolzl, Gunta, Umbehr, Otto, Vordemberge-Gildewart, Friedrich

Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Herbert Bayer. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1959. Hard Edge.

The term Hard-edge painting was coined in 1959 by art historian Jules Langsner to characterize the nonfigurative work of four artists from California in an exhibition called Four Abstract Classicists. The term then gained broader currency after British critic Lawrence Alloway used it to describe contemporary American geometric abstract painting featuring an “economy of form,” “fullness of color,” “neatness of surface,” and the nonrelational, allover arrangement of forms on the canvas…Also described as Abstract Imaginism.

Artists of “Hard Edge”: Geertsen, Ib, Held, Al, Kelly, Ellsworth, Liberman, Alexander, Marden, Brice, Noland, Kenneth, Reinhardt, Ad, Stella, Frank, Youngerman, Jack

hard edge
Kelly Ellsworth, Brice Marden, Kenneth Noland. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1924. Op Art.

From the Manifest Yellow Manifesto by Victor Vasarely:
We can not allow unlimited enjoyment of the artwork to the only elite connoisseurs. The art is moving towards this generous forms, be recreated at will; the art of tomorrow will be common treasury or will not. Degenerate traditions, the usual forms of painting wither on tracks convicted. Time judge and eliminates, from the revival of a rupture and the manifestation of the genuine is discontinuous and unexpected. It is painful, but necessary to abandon the old values ​​to ensure the new possession. Our condition has changed, our ethics, our aesthetics must change in turn. If the idea of ​​the plastic work lay far in a traditional approach and the myth of the “unique”, she is now in the design of a possibility for a reconstruction, expansion and multiplication . (…) The majestic chain of the still image in two dimensions takes place at Lascaux to abstract … the future will bring happiness in the new plastic beauty moving and moving.].

Artists of “Op Art”: Agam, Yaacov, Andrade, Edna, Anuszkiewicz, Richard, Calderara, Antonio, Cruz-Diez, Carlos, Dobes, Milan, Fleischmann, Adolf, Fruhtrunk, Gunter, Graevenitz, Gerhard von, Mavignier, Almir, Messen-Jaschin, Youri, Riley, Bridget, Soto, Jesus Rafael, Stanczak, Julian, Takis, Vassilakis, Vasarely, Victor

op art
Victor Vasarely, Julio Le Parc, Bridget Riley. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1960s. Arte Povera.

“Arte Povera”,”arme Kunst”.The term ‘Arte Povera’ was introduced by the Italian art critic and curator, Germano Celant, in 1967. His pioneering texts and a series of key exhibitions provided a collective identity for a number of young Italian artists based in Turin, Milan, Genoa and Rome. They were working in radically new ways, breaking with the past and entering a challenging dialogue with trends in Europe and America.

NOTES FOR A GUERRILLA WAR. From the Arte Povera Manifesto by Germano Celant. …The man is the message, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan. Freedom, in the visual arts, is an all-contaminating germ. The artist refuses all labels and finds identification only with himself. Ever since 1964, Michelangelo Pistoletto (like Andy Warhol, Enzo Mari, and Jerzy Grotowski) has thus given himself over to the problem of a freedom of language no longer connected to the system or to any kind of visual consistency; he’s concerned, instead, with ‘interior’consistency, and in 1966 he produced a series of extremely ‘poor’ works: a Christmas manger, a cardboard well with torn canvas at its center, a showcase for clothing, a structure for conversing standing up and a structure for conversing sitting down, a table made of picture frames and paintings, a giant-sized photograph of Jasper Johns, and a mercury light. This work is committed to the registration of “the irrepeatability of every instant” (Pistoletto), and it presupposes the rejection of any and all systems and of all codified expectations. A free mode of action, unforeseeable and without restraints (in 1967, a sarcophagus, a house painted with great chromatic freedom, a sphere of compressed newspaper, a body covered with mica) and franchised to frustrate expectations, which allows Pistoletto always to straddle the borderline between art and life.
This revolutionary way of existence turns into the Reign of Terror with Boetti, Zorio, Anselmo, Piacentino, Gilardi, Prini, Merz, Kounellis, Paolini and Pascali, all of whom are artists whose modes of action pose the problem of this recovery of free self-determination…>>

Artists of “Arte Povera”: Ackling, Roger, Anselmo, Giovanni, Arends, Stuart, Boetti, Alighiero, Calzolari, Pier-Paolo, Cosentino, Rossella, Fabro, Luciano, Fontana, Lucio, Gilardi, Piero, Kounellis, Jannis, Manzoni, Piero, Merz, Mario, Merz, Marisa, Pascali, Pino, Penone, Giuseppe, Pistoletto, Michelangelo, Prini, Emilio, Roloff, John, Ruthenbeck, Reiner, Zorio, Gilberto

arte povera
Kounellis, Pistoletto, Penone. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

1960´s. Minimal Art.

Painting and sculpture are reduced to the essential by the use of elementary and geometrical forms “Primary Structures”, to reach the most extreme formalism in space. The work is the final outcome of a creative process determined in advance.

Artists of “Minimal Art”: Agnetti, Vincenzo, Andre, Carl, Baer, Jo, Bandau, Joachim, Bladen, Ronald, Bochner, Mel, Bonalumi, Agostino, Bown, Dave, Bruggeman, Stefan, Andre Cadere, Castellani, Enrico, Tony Conrad, Craig-Martin, Michael, Fan, Shen, Flavin, Dan, Fontana, Lucio, Gudmundsson, Kristjan, Judd, Donald, Klein, Yves, Kolehmainen, Ola, Mangold, Robert, Manzoni, Piero, Maria, Walter de, Martin, Agnes, McCracken, John, Morris, Robert, Noland, Kenneth, Palermo, Blinky, Posenenske, Charlotte, Reinhardt, Ad, Ryman, Robert, Serra, Richard, Stella, Frank, Uriarte, Ignacio, Walsh, Dan, Webster, Meg, Yadzinski, Stephen, Young, Peter

minimal art
Carl Andre, Agnes Martin, Yves Klein. What is Modern Art. Modern Art Explained.

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