“The art of painting new structures out of elements that have not been borrowed from the visual sphere, but had been created entirely by the artist…it is pure art.” , that is how poet Guillaume Apollinaire described Abstraction, a Post-Modernist form of art that saw its initiation in the beginning of 19th century and is prominent still.
Its causation is described as “a response to, and a reflection of, the growing abstraction of social relations in industrial society” by Theodor W. Adorno. Abstraction was seen as a medium to encompass change, where and as it was present or required depiction. It embodied the abstract nature of social existence, however ironic it might have sounded at the time it developed, as social behavior was considered as something very concrete.
Abstraction derives its essence from three preceding art movements, Romanticism, Impressionism and Expressionism. Romanticism lent Abstraction the emphasis it gave to visual sensation rather than objects. Impressionism lent it the modulated use of colours and hues, refined even more in Cubism and Fauvism. Expressionism lent Abstraction its ability to exaggerate, the bold use of paint surface and the ability to distort. These techniques came together in the form of Abstraction.
In Abstraction, elements of shape, form, color and line are used to compose imagery that is independent of real-life visual references. The degree of dependence, if any at all, varies according to the artists’ preference. Mainly, there exists Slight, Partial and Complete Abstraction.
- Slight Abstraction
Almost all art would fall under this category, as perfect representation on a visual medium doesn’t exist.
2. Partial Abstraction
Partial Abstraction, being more liberal than Slight Abstraction, alters the form and color of the elements used to a large extent.
3. Complete Abstraction
Fully abstract art doesn’t bear any resemblance to anything real or recognizable.
Another basis of differentiation is the object or style of depiction. Under this heading, Abstraction can be divided into,
- Geometric Abstraction
Under this style, geometric shapes and forms are placed in unrelated or non-representational compositions. Also referred to as cold abstraction, Geometric Abstraction is till date considered the height of non-objective art practice.
- Lyrical Abstraction
As opposed to Geometric Abstraction, Lyrical Abstraction is warmer and a tad bit relatable. The art forms are abstract depictions of personal expression and are seen as a medium of objective self-expression.
No other art movement has had as much of an impact on photography as Abstraction. Also known as Non-objective, Experimental, Conceptual or Concrete Photography, the idea behind it is more or less similar to Abstraction. The general concepts used are isolation of certain objects or scenes, to create a sense of illusion about their immediate context, or creating a composition of seemingly unrelated objects, or usage of use of color, light, shadow, texture, shape and forms to convey a feeling, sensation or impression other than what is directly infer-able.
Abstract Photography sought after visual arts’ unprecedented ability to transform what had previously been invisible into a tangible presence. Initial photographs developed or created under Abstraction were considered science records (here’s what you call irony.) rather than art because of the *imposed* irrelevance but were the actual ground-breaking pieces of art of those times, as they’re considered now.
The images are produced using traditional photographic equipment like a camera, darkroom or computers, or they may be created by directly manipulating film, paper or other photographic media, including digital presentations.
If we talk of the golden age of Abstraction, it’s happening now. With ever-evolving ways of creation of visual media and constant changes in how an individual’s mind works towards creation, there’s no limit to what one can create. With museums and art galleries taking great interest in the history of Abstract art and in Abstract art itself, the platform to showcase is endless.