Essay about The Basic Tenets Of Materialism And Abstraction

1212 Words Oct 7th, 2014 5 Pages
The basic tenets of materialism and abstraction often clash against one another. Materialism, after all, results in “shapeless, [describable] emotions such as fear and joy,” while abstraction encompasses those “inner, subtler feelings…beyond the reach of words” (Section I, Paragraph 4). These contrasting depths of emotion give rise to the potent tension between materialism and abstraction in Section VI, Paragraph 18 of Kandinsky’s essay “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” Here, Kandinsky comments on those “rhomboidal composition[s] made up of a number of human figures [which are] an absolute necessity to the composition,” criticizing the figures’ material appeal for “directly weakening [the composition’s] abstract appeal.” While Kandinsky correctly states in the same paragraph that all human figures should contribute to an artwork’s fundamental meaning (and not be included within a painting merely to satisfy preconceived artistic principles), his apprehension that an artwork’s material appeal can weaken its abstract appeal lacks substance. Indeed, Kandinsky’s claim that the material can draw attention away from the abstract, a claim derived from his struggle to solve the problem of defining truly exceptional artwork, fails to account for the other ideas regarding materialism in his essay. Founded on Kandinsky’s examination of color and his thoughts concerning artistic freedom, these contrasting ideas form the basis of this essay. However, instead of merely challenging…

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