Thursday, February 24, 2011

Concrete art

Concrete art and design or concretism is an abstractionist movement that evolved in the 1930s out of the work of De Stijl, the futurists and Kandinsky around the Swiss painter Max Bill. The term "concrete art" was first introduced by Theo van Doesburg in his "Manifesto of Concrete Art" (1930) published in the first and only issue of magazine Art Concrete:

1. Art is universal;

2. The work of art must be entirely conceived and shaped by the spirit execution. It does not receive data from the formal nature, or sensuality, or the sentimentality. We want to exclude lyricism, dramatism, symbolism, etc;

3. The canvas is to be built entirely with purely visual elements, his plans and colors. A pictorial element has no meaning other than "himself" in the canvas the consequence is "himself";

4. The construction of the canvas, also controllable visually;

5. The technique should be mechanics, anti-impressionist;

6. Effort to absolute clarity.

In his understanding, this form of abstractionism must be free of any symbolical association with reality, arguing that lines and colors are concrete by themselves.

Ever since the cave age, man has been painting still lives, landscapes, and nudes. These artists do not wish to copy nature. They do not wish to reproduce but to produce. But then nothing is less abstract than Abstract art. This is why Van Doesburg and Kandinsky have suggested that Abstract art should called Concrete art.

Artists should not sign their works of Concrete art. These paintings, sculptures, objects should remain anonymous and form part of nature’s great workshop as leaves do, and clouds, animals, men. Yes, once again become part of nature. These artists should work communally as did the artists of the Middle Age.

The Swiss artist Max Bill later became the flag bearer for Concrete art organizing the first international exhibition in Basle in 1944. He stated that the aim of Concrete art is to create 'in a visible and tangible form things which did not previously exist to represent abstract thoughts in a sensuous and tangible form'. In practice Concrete art is very close to Constructivism and there is a museum of Constructive and Concrete art in Zurich, Switzerland.

The movement came to fruition in Northern Italy and France in the 1940s and 1950's through the work of the groups Movement of art concrete (MAC) and Space.

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