Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kandinsky's theory of Monumental Art | Synesthesia | Peter Selz

Painter and abstract expressionist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) points out that human beings, because of individual differences, differ in the type of art expression to which they are most receptive. For some it is musical form, for others painting or literature, which causes the greatest aesthetic enjoyment. not He also realized that the artist could achieve aesthetic effects in sensory fields limited to his own medium. He was much interested, for instance, in Scriabin’s experiments with color-sound combinations. The re-enforcement of one art form with another by means of synesthesia will greatly increase the final aesthetic effect upon the receptor. The greatest effect can be obtained by the synthesis of all the arts in one “monumental art”, which is the ultimate end of Kandinsky’s aesthetics.

Kandinsky here continues the nineteenth century tradition – from Herder to Wagner – with its desire for a union of all arts. Kandinsky believes that a synthesis of the arts is possible because in the final analysis all artistic means are identical in their inner meaning: Ultimately the external differences will become insignificant and the internal identity of all artistic expression will be disclosed.

In his “Schematic Plan of Studies and Work of the Institute of Art Culture”, Kandinsky outlines the possible steps to be taken for the achievement of monumental art. Present-day drama, opera, ballet are criticized as much as the plastic arts. By discarding external factors in “stage composition”, particularly the factors of plot, external relationship, and external unity, a greater internal unity can be achieved. Kandinsky then experiments with such a composition, “Der gelbe Klang”. There he attempts to combine music, with the movements of dancers and objects, the sound of the human voice, and the effect of color-tone.
The above link is to a great lecture that I recommend watching in its entirety. The most relevant information is presented from 1:01:36 - 1:03:51

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