An exhibition running from 26th February to 12th March 2011
Text by ~SanIakob
- Visual Artist/Founder of #Nature-Abstracted
The origins of abstract art can be found in the paintings of the early XX century. Many of the modern artistic styles arise almost simultaneously at that time. After a breakdown in humanity’s emotional history (the First World War, industrialization and progressive advance of the machines replacing human work) artists felt the necessity to undo the knots that united them with a painful and - almost unbearable - reality. As pioneers, they left all they knew behind them and headed towards new emotional horizons. Some of the ports they reached are what we know as Surrealism, Cubism, Modernism (all the -isms) and of course, Abstraction.
The ultimate goal of art at that time was to break up with everything that could relate to reality in the work of art. Thus Surrealism broke the laws of logic and reason, while Abstraction preferred to do without concrete objects. Concepts, daily ideas, and - in some cases- emotions were replaced by geometrical and mathematical formulas.
This meant an important rupture, since up to that moment artists portrayed concrete objects and their relationship with the world. Two big abstract currents arose. One based in geometry and the purely formal relationship of pictorial elements (line, point, plane, color) - with its main representative in Mondriaan. The other one was based on the representation of 'intangibility' or things which didn't have physical bodies (such as the sensation that produced the contemplation of a sunbeam hitting on a table, or the sensation that produced listening to a certain piece of music) - with its main representative in Kandinsky.Abstraction in Photography
From a conceptual point of view, 'abstract photography' is a paradox; it is a contradiction in itself. Why? Because in order for photography to exist, it will always be bound to concrete objects and the physical reality of things (main aspects from which abstraction escapes). From an artistic point of view, Abstract Photography found a crack in the wall to spread its roots and grow to become a valid genre. In order to do so, the word 'abstraction' would transform into a new concept.
In painting 'abstraction' is synonymous of 'summarize' - to summarize the particular details of reality until it becomes only lines, colors, textures and planes in a “ pictorial universe” (the painter no longer needs 'to copy' the real). As said, photography cannot avoid the use of a model. For that reason, Abstraction in photography is not only "to summarize” but also 'to extract', 'to clip'. Photography clips/captures a fragment of an object and it extracts it from its own reality to give it a new plastic meaning. This clipping is at the same time a summary, a synthesis of particular details in bigger or smaller degree. Clipping and Synthesis are two fundamental aspects which need to be present in a picture if we want it to be abstract. Synthesis is what puts reality on a second plane in the viewer's mind. If the viewer can still distinguish (and name) objects present in the photo, then the level of synthesis is not enough and the work stops being abstract. Notice that certain forms of photography based on architectural elements still work well as abstraction (pictures of windows, frames, structures, etc.) even though there are discernible elements, the viewer still sees 'the window' but the group of lines and colors that are formed is much more interesting and captures his/her attention.
In Abstract Photography it is necessary to be careful with some aspects, such as the choice of title for the piece. If the work relates to a concept of reality for some reason - in spite of not containing discernible objects - it can fail as an "abstract" piece unless the composition is very good. For that reason, neutral titles are chosen for pieces in this genre. 'Autumn leaves in my backyard while rain falls and the neighbor's dog is barking' is definitely not an appropriate title for an abstract work. For an abstract piece to work well it should not only have Synthesis and Clipping, but also a careful planning of composition, and the techniques used. Remember that because the artist disregards reality in his/her work, the viewer is forced to focus on the 'plastic', 'aesthetic' aspects of the piece.Conclusion
In spite of what it might seem, Abstraction is not cold and lacking all expression. Abstract artists not only display their mastery of composition and technique, but also their relationship with the reality that surrounds them, since nowadays we can say that Abstract Photography more than trying 'to forget' about reality, tries 'to speak about reality' but avoiding to name it directly.
The following pieces can fall into more than one genre depending on the point of view of the viewer. Composition in the following pieces is mainly abstract, but the titles chosen leave the gate open to new interpretations making these images also suitable for Conceptual and Surreal genres.
Any member can curate an exhibition. Just contact =AlexandraB24
with your ideas and a few thumbs.