Abstraction(s)

Curated by Nicolas Trembley


Song Art Museum, Beijing, China


Press release

Without a doubt, abstract art remains one of the most radical art movements of the early 20th century. Emerging in the West towards the end of Impressionism, it fueled a great many historical currents such as Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism, as well as its more contemporary successors like Op Art or Neo-Geo, an emanation of minimalism.

Abstraction is a specific system producing images that deliberately oppose figuration: it refuses the depiction or imitation of nature. It purports to develop shapes and colours through motions and rhythms that push the limits of modern art and shun painterly technique.

Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, a pioneer of the movement and one of its key theoreticians, saw it as an absolute art with a yearning for spirituality.

Kazimir Malevich’s famous “Black Square”, painted in 1915, or the black lines that delineate Piet Mondrian’s geometric spaces of pure colours, have become historical icons.

Seldom has an art movement lasted so long: more than a century after its genesis, many contemporary artists continue to claim notions defined by abstraction as their own