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HVVACC Exhibits

Modernity vs. Nature: 20th Century Woodcut Prints

From the portfolio, Kleine Welten (Small Worlds)
Kandinsky, Vassily
printing ink
woodcut (print)
27.31 x 23.5 cm (10 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches)

In addition to being a painter and printmaker, Vassily Kandinsky was an art theorist. He laments the materialism of modern life in his theoretical text, Concerning the Spiritual in Art:

“Our minds, which are even now only just awakening after years of materialism, are infected with the despair of unbelief, of lack of purpose and ideal. The nightmare of materialism, which has turned the life of the universe into an evil, useless game, is not yet past.”

Kandinsky further argues that artists should strive to create work that does not rely on the imitation of nature or on the mimicry of art from antiquity and the Renaissance.

This print depicts an assemblage of abstracted forms and lines that overlap each other. Towards the center of the work, some forms crowd together and become more chaotic. On the outskirts of the composition, other forms float free of this geometric conglomeration.

Kandinsky’s penchant towards abstraction and rejection of nature were a product of his life in the early 20th century.