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What is abstract art?


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Definition of abstract art


Abstract art is an artistic movement characterized by the absence of figurative representation or reference to observable reality. It emphasizes the use of forms, colors, lines, and textures to create a reality unique to the artwork. Unlike figurative art, which seeks to represent the external world in a recognizable manner, abstract art focuses on the purity of artistic expression, exploring emotions, sensations, and ideas in a non-objective manner.


Abstract art challenges traditional conventions of beauty and representation, prioritizing subjectivity and experimentation. It aims to transcend the limits of visible reality by creating a unique visual language and inviting the viewer to interpret the artwork based on their own experiences and sensibilities.


Abstract artists often use geometric forms, non-representational compositions, vibrant colors, and expressive textures to create works that delve into the essence of the human experience. The goal of abstract art is to evoke an emotional and intellectual response from the viewer, encouraging introspection and contemplation through the aesthetic experience.


Origin and birth of abstract art


The origin and birth of abstract art date back to the early 20th century, marking a radical break from established artistic traditions. Several factors contributed to its emergence, such as technological advancements, social changes, and cultural upheavals of the time.

At the turn of the 20th century, photography had begun to gain popularity, allowing for faithful reproduction of reality. This led some artists to question the role of painting in objectively representing the visible world. They started to explore new creative paths and challenge traditional artistic conventions.


Among the precursors of abstract art were artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter considered the father of abstract art. Kandinsky believed that music had the power to evoke emotions and sensations without resorting to figurative representation, and he aimed to achieve the same in painting. In 1910, he created his first abstract work, titled "First Abstract Watercolor."


Simultaneously, other artists such as Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, and Robert Delaunay also began to explore non-representational forms and compositions. They sought to express the essence of art through basic elements such as lines, colors, and geometric shapes.

Another key element in the emergence of abstract art was the cultural and intellectual climate of the time. The 20th century was marked by significant social, political, and scientific changes, such as the emergence of psychoanalysis, Einstein's theory of relativity, and new philosophical ideas. These upheavals encouraged artists to reconsider their approach to art and explore new avenues of expression.


Abstract art gained popularity and spread rapidly, particularly after World War I. Art movements such as Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, and Surrealism all contributed to its development and expansion. Abstract Expressionism, which emerged in the 1940s and 1950s in the United States, also played a major role in the recognition and dissemination of abstract art worldwide.

Today, abstract art continues to evolve and reinvent itself, with many contemporary artists exploring new forms, techniques, and abstract concepts. It remains an influential artistic movement and a source of inspiration for many creators, offering limitless freedom of expression and endless exploration of aesthetic possibilities.

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