Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Wassili Kandinsky


Three Mystical Necessities - 1911

It has not been easy for Wassili Kandinsky to find a publisher for his essay 'About the Spiritual in Art and Especially in Painting', which he had been working on for several years. As its title suggests, the book is a reflection on the relationship of the mind and artistic activity, a relationship that is at the core of the abstraction that Kandinsky originated last year with a watercolor made of nothing but strokes and spots. Piper Verlag in Munich published the book. It has just come out, yet it is so much in demand that the publisher is already planning a second edition.


This interior necessity is in fact based on three mystical necessities:
1. Every artist, as creator, must learn to express what is personally characteristic. [The element of the personality.]

2. Every artist, as a child of his era, must express what is characteristic of this age. [The element of style in its interior value, consisting of the language of the times and the language of the people.]

3. Every artist, as servant of the art, must express that which is characteristic of art generally. [The element of pure and eternal art, found among all human beings, among all peoples and at all times, and which appears in the work of all artists of all nations and in all ages and which does not obey, as essential element of art, any law of space or time.]

Through the first two elements, the spiritual eye sees the third one bared. We then realize that the ˝roughţ sculpted column of an Indian temple is animated by the same soul as any living work of our time.

The element of pure and eternal art alone will keep its value. Instead of weakening its power, time will increase it ceaselessly by giving it new strength. The more a "present" work possesses the elements that are particular to the artist and his century, the more easily the work will find access to the souls of its contemporaries. The more the eternal and pure element dominates in it, the more the two other elements will seem hidden, and the more the work will thus have difficulty in finding access to the soul of its contemporaries. Sometimes it takes centuries for this pure sound finally to reach the should of humanity.

It can therefore be said that it is the preponderance of the third element that is an index of the splendor of a work of art and the greatness of the artist.

Wassili Kandinsky
About the Spiritual in Art and Especially in Painting [excerpt]

[An Excerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p.121]




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