Lecture on Kandinsky and the Book of Revelations, 29/10/13

kand-composition-v-1911

 

‘Composition V’, 1911

(Image taken from: http://jewishphilosophyplace.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kand-composition-v-1911.jpg)
I had heard of Kandinsky, and was forced to learn about his work during my GCSE years. I saw him as a terrible artist, something that was as obvious in meaning as it was to look at; ‘Abstract expressionism, fantastic. Chalk another one up for Modern art.’ My knowledge of him was so limited, that I only saw this work as his work, and dismissed him. However, this lecture really opened up y eyes to his work. Although Abstract expressionism is a strange subject for me, and I tend to either hate it or love it (let’s call it the marmite complex), I was drawn far more into this work once I had heard the deeper meanings behind it.

 

Kandinsky’s fascination with the Book of Revelations is something that I share, and when looking at earlier compositions and sketches, you can see the obvious influence such a book had on him. At this time in history, there was an increasing sense of ‘artificial life’, in which man’s life was becoming more and more mechanised, and his heart yearned out for more, causing the movement of abstraction. There was a ‘breaking free’ of the rules that had been laid before, in favour of finding a medium in which they could experience the freedom humanity yearns for.  Kandinsky was fascinated by ideas of ‘theosophy’, of some form of a higher power existing, and us being able to unlock it somehow. Was this what spurred his fascinations with the ‘Book of Revelations’? that there is a god, and that what the world was becoming was an example of the ‘apocalyptic discourse that is so graphically foretold in the bible?

The work says so much to me, Primordial Art became the norm at this time, and ideas of Gods and primitive understandings of the world became the fascination of many artists at this time. Purely because of the rapid modernisation of the world, and the need to rebel against it. The great modern artists would not have existed if it was not for this regression, there would have been no progress without the past.

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