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Friday, May 27, 2005

Kandinsky and the Compositions - Part I

Ok, here it is... for a long time, I have been threatening both on blog and in real time to put up something on Wassily Kandinsky. There it is finally.

Dear art-unsavvy friends of mine, please bear with this. Seek info in real time if it interests you!


Kandinsky created a total of 10 large format pictures all entitled Composition(s). The series is titles Compositions (obvious, idn't it?)

Composition IV - 1911

Composition IV is one of his major works - esp during his transition phase from depictive shapes to abstraction.Kandinsky freed lines off the function as just outlines and created a certain pictorial vocabulary (I love the expression, freeing lines of outline function. True isn't it how warped we are and use lines as just geometric slave-frames!) that really placed equal importance and emphasis on lines and colour.

According to him, a composition is "made up of the contrasts between masses, lines and colours, and only secondarily of objects to which the representation alludes". Several of the elements in Comp. IV such as the mountain, the Cossacks, the rainbow at the back, the twin figures or the gallopping horses in the top left hand section refer to predetermined objects and figures. Of course, abstractionists would readily notice that. Conservative naturalistic and realistic minds would take a while to figure out. But this is Expressionism we are talking. And the Man of the Bauhaus Movement!

The combined effect of primary and secondary motifs (and thematic constructs to go with it), the edgy but deliberate nervous and patchy style of painting, the stark colourfulness and powerful imagination veil the picture's fundamental structural composition.

Look how the vertical axis divides the picture so effortlessly into two halves: the mountains with the motifs depicted on top of them provide almost a third section. For a desultory eye, the 3rd section is almost part of the second. But not really so! A diagonal line adds a certain kinetic - even dynamic - touch to this composition.

Watch out for other compositions. And my links to a Kandinsky web-page in the Links section shortly, comprising jpg reproductions of his works. They are available all over the web. But am compiling them for an avid Wassily enthusiast.

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