April 16, 2013

What is abstraction, actually?

What is abstraction?
(A question for artists... or notes in preparation for a conversation with one artist in particular: Vince C.)

* Abstraction is not-representation

A withdrawal from the visible world either concrete or imaginary, against a rule set of extra-relational elements which results in representation (abstraction is intra-representational, the interrelation of visual elements solely within the bounded arena of art, canvas or otherwise)

This is why the monochrome became -for some- the ultimate manifestation of abstraction.

Abstraction as a set of intra-relational visual elements, elements freed from their function as cues to an external reality.

Interesting to note that E.H. Gombrich and Rudolf Arnheim, among others, had established these cues on a biological/psychological foundation... therefore in this definition of abstraction as not-representational, the extra-relational part (typically, visual signifiers of an external world) became confined to emotional signifiers, the universe of feeling... therefore this would be a kind of abstraction which is really a representation of inchoate desire

* Abstraction as elaboration (think: the Alhambra)

"To begin with, the Frankfurt intellectuals heaped scorn on him for being in love with concrete reduction when they were in love with abstract elaboration."

(Source of quote.)

concrete reduction versus abstract elaboration
representation leads to reduction (stasis?), abstraction leads to elaboration (movement?)

*Abstraction as intellectual reduction, or a distillation of complex reality into hypothesis (think: Newton)

from the dictionary: dealing with ideas rather than events, not based on a particular instance; theoretical, denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object

In this case, abstract painting is/was only a waypoint towards the abstraction that became conceptual art, that abstraction tends to the ultimate state of disembodied ideas

(Blogpost in progress...)

Posted by Dennis at April 16, 2013 10:28 AM

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