The exhibition Abstract-Objective


The exhibition Abstract-Objective, created by the Dukley European Art Community and curated by Marat Guelman, includes works by artists who have either been DEAC residents in the past years, or those who in some way have or will be involved in the activities of DEAC. The very title of the exhibition implies its basic idea: confirming that one of the greatest and most important questions of the entire history of XX century art is still pertinent. The turning point in understanding the dynamics of relations between abstract and concrete or abstract and real is, of course, around the various artistic activities of the late XIX and early XX centuries. They shook off centuries of domination by the imitation principle in art, that is – mimesis. Numerous theoretical discussions of the same period also tackled this issue – the shift is clearly visible. Research and interpretation of the essence of the artistic phenomenon, sees a shift in the emphasis from the objectivism of the external form of the aesthetic object, instead to the behaviour of the subject who observes the phenomenon. In this sense, perhaps the two most significant theoretical works are: Wilhelm Worringer’s thesis Abstraction and Feeling and two works by Wassily Kandinsky: On the Problem of Form and his main work Concerning the Spiritual in Art – probably the most influential theoretical text in the history of art of the twentieth century. It was in this working text On the Problem of Form, which precedes the much more famous Concerning the Spiritual in Art, that Kandinsky introduces into his theoretical reasoning the famous binary concepts of Absolute abstraction and Absolute reality, and after a preliminary convincing argument, pronounces them equals. Kandinsky, among other things, points out how in figurative painting (that is painting based on the perception of the object in the outside world, in the world of concrete reality) there is inevitably an element of abstraction or abstracting, and vice versa — in an abstract painting based on forms non-existent in the natural world, there is something very concrete, based on the unquestionable concrete reality of the physical mark. The equality which Kandinsky pronounces between Absolute abstraction and Absolute reality is based on the understanding that in both types of painting, no matter whether figurative or abstract, a single principle is at work – the founding of the concrete artistic phenomena in internal necessity, which for Kandinsky is the true content of the artwork. He later describes this principle in detail as a founding idea, in his famous text Concerning the Spiritual in Art. In other words, despite the isolation and intransigence of formalism in the history of the avant-garde, Kandinsky opens up a relatively wide field for the various manifestations of painting/art. Because of this feeling of subjective freedom in what an artist can do, the influence of such an interpretation of artistic thought throughout the twentieth century, and even today, can be considered incredibly wide. To paraphrase Kandinsky once again – in art everything is permissible, but certain boundaries cannot be crossed. Or to express this more freely: everything an artist does consciously and responsibly, everything based on a serious internal substance, has meaning today just like it did a hundred years ago when Kandinsky wrote and published his seminal texts.