Key Artwork: “Composition 5” 1911- Wassily Kandinsky

  To create new artwork, he felt you had to know the old. If you know the History of Art, you know what options are available to you and how to progress with influences in your own practice. The Idea of autonomous art, is about knowing your own limits.


Kandinsky’s piece “composition 5” has a great deal of conflict and harmony within it. Kandinsky was  a pioneer of abstract painting. During the industrial revolution, artists including Kandinsky felt they needed a way of painting to show how they felt. The felt that there lives were mechanised and disfunctional and wanted to paint to convey losing a sense of conventional order and so turned to a more abstract approach. Abstraction gives a valuable insight into how the artist experiences disorder in the world and how they experience it.

Kandinsky produced ten large compositions in this where he is influenced by religion and the story of cleansing in the Bible. He Explores the narrative of the Book of Revelation. Through Colour and Line, He wanted us to experience ourselves the spiritual element within his work and wants to evoke a sense of energy to the viewer. During his artistic development, Kandinsky looks at many different ways of using paint in his work. He gathered knowledge of other artists whilst trying to develop his own artistic vocabulary. As he gains a more in-depth knowledge of other artists work, his own work becomes more increasingly about colour and form. He felt that children’s Art is the perception of the world we lose when we are educated. He looked at art from different people from different backgrounds because he felt that our own experiences influence out artwork.

Kandinsky was a great believe in primitivism in art. In ‘Composition 5′ you can see (after analysing his early stages of painting) that he tells a story within his work and everything is connected in some way if we look long enough. It is an eclecticism of styles and stories. Elements of the religious stories from the Book of Revelation are seen in many of his earlier works. This particular painting points towards the third dispensation, the Holy Ghost. Kandinsky has moved away from the hardened world and created a new language by weaving different stories together.

From Kandinsky’s work,  I have learnt that some Art maybe abstract but it has meaning. Kandinsky wanted us to explore this and find elements of story within his work and to create our own response. The narrative is harder to find within abstraction but he wants people to have to search for it. He wants his work to affect us immediately and spiritually. It has also reiterated to me, the importance of gaining knowledge of Art History.


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