Thursday, July 17, 2014

Listen to the Loudest Composition - Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky is the most complex of a series of ten paintings produced by the artist in the 1930s. Kandinsky’s years of art and personal education was the fuel for these series. He felt that the artist moves the world forward, testifying to reality and few today and helping the masses move forward with recognition later. The name Composition VII was meant to mimic the musical definition of the word- a deliberate piece in contrast to his earlier improvisations. Over the last few decades, Kandinsky had abandoned lines in an attempt to communicate with the soul similar to the way music did; he was particularly inspired by the work of Richard Wagner. The painting was considered to be Wassily Kandinsky’s most complex work- taking four solid days of painting to finish after creating over thirty drawings, watercolors and oil paintings in preparation for the piece. This was particularly noteworthy as this abstract art piece was produced during World War I when the shortage of even basic necessities made paintings a pure luxury.

Kandinsky’s abstract art series was focused on the idea of creation and distraction. In the center, a circular structure is seen- a form Kandinsky often referred to as being the most like a soul. Around this piece, swirls colors range from black (closure) to gold (new beginnings). The rhythm of the painting is certainly chaotic. Without much repetition in shape or color, the mind has to swirl around the painting hoping to find something to rest on. There are minor notes of rest; dark colors placed next to each other that create small islands of harmony but they are buffeted by opposing colors lapping. Orange clashes with green and the mixes of color are not even complete. The purples for examples are more in the style of pointillism- loose mixtures whose gradient is disturbing to us. But even the chaos is not consistent- they would allow us to rest. There is just enough repetition to prevent the painting from becoming pure chaos- an odd form of consistent order in its own way.

It’s not a simple piece. We cannot easily dissect it as a picture of an apple or human. Without something easily recognizable, it leaves us to only emotions to understand the piece. To me I will always see the birthing pains of creation. The rapid rise of attempted life that dies out just as instantly as it was born. But at the center is something stable- something unique. And although new, it stands in the center of creation, and it will survive. To me, it gives hope that chaos will find an order and that something will remain living in this order rather than cold, sterile order.

wassily kandinsky composition vii