Spirituality and forms / Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky, 1947

Her Landscapes, 2014 / copyright: oini

In 2014 while working on a Her Landscapes photographic series I was looking for ways to describe my ideas of constructing images that would represent myself but in an invisible, perhaps spiritual, dimension. During that time I was fascinated with creating landscapes made of body parts, abstract forms, shapes and colours. Discovering an essay Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1947) by Wassily Kandinsky gave me a better understanding of what I was trying to make.

Throughout the process of development of his works, Kandinsky discovered that spirituality is tightly connected to our experience of the world through abstract forms, colours and shapes. He believed that the true work of art is spiritual and is capable of nourishing and inspiring the human‘s spirit, similarly as religious art. Kandinsky is exploring the reality of our experience of the world through creation of familiar but completely new forms, which have nothing to do with existing objects as such. In his essay Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1947) he states that “no theory can be laid down for those things that lie in the realm of the immaterial. That which has no material existence cannot be materially crystallized. That which belongs to the spirit of the future can only be realized in feeling, and the talent of the artist is the only road to feeling“ (Kandinsky, 1947, p. 31). In this quote the artist explains how illustrating the spiritual realm or a religious experience is impossible because we cannot visualize the unsubstantial. As opposed to the figurative religious painting (Rembrandt, Caravaggio or El Greco), in his works the spiritual realm is made of geometrical forms, freely painted colourful lines which explore the harmony, symmetry and beauty of the mathematics, which all the objects of the universe are made of. I see it as science combined with art. It makes me think of atoms and particles that are like abstract matter we don’t see with the naked eye but it moulds the world we operate in. For Kandindsky human spirituality is like a pyramid, and the artist is meant to lead others with their work to the top. ”It is a spiritual pyramid, advancing and ascending slowly even if it sometimes appears immobile. During decadent periods, the soul sinks to the bottom of the pyramid; humanity searches only for external success, ignoring spiritual forces” (Kandinsky, 1947, p. 61-75).

The spiritual experience is the one of a delight in a colour; it is like an illumination, a sudden understanding of it and feeling it – colour enlightenment that causes an emotional arouse. Kandinsky calls it a “vibration of the soul”, an “inner resonance” or “a spiritual effect in which the colour touches the soul itself” (Kandinsky, 1947, p. 61-75). For the painter the perception of the colours depends on the inner experience. The artist believes in the ‘absolute phenomenological life’, called like that by a French philosopher Michel Henry. It is a subjective experience fully based on ones perception and emotion towards the object that is being experienced.

Comments

  • You can certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

    • Lenka

      Hi ! Thank you your kind comment – it is much appreciated!

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