Reviews - What do customers think about Kandinsky?
Kadinsky May 26, 2008
The book was received timely and in good condition. I am enjoying the art work. The book is verything I expected to be, very abstract.
The Miles Davis of the Paint Medium Jan 26, 2008
Normally I do not read art books, for art tends to speak for itself.
My wife bought this one in response to remarks I had made in an art boutique in Maui about a Miles Davis painting we saw there. The comment, the same one I made on other occasions upon seeing similar paintings by Ornette Coleman, Calman Shemi and Wasssily Kandinsky was that "I could hear the paintings much better than I could see them."
Shemi actually has a series of painting, fittingly called "Jazz" - and if you do not think about them too hard, you can actually hear the music in them.
I suppose since there are no art books about Miles, Ornette, or yet even about Shemi, the next best thing was for her to get me one about Wassily Kandinsky, known to be my favorite artist. And speaking of books about heroes, never was I more disappointed than by Miles' own book "Decoy," whose title could not have been more prophetic as it was not so much about his music as it was a decoy deflecting one from Miles' music and focusing on how Miles - even deep into his fifties - seemed still obsessed with remaining a "hip East St. Louis inner city thug." And while "Decoy" certainly cut Miles down to human size, nothing can ever erase the impact of his musical genius and legacy. Miles, whatever else, were his failings, did for music what Kandinsky spent a lifetime trying to do for painting: He freed American music from its rigidly imposed aesthetic structural strait-jacket of time and chordal discipline, in one fell swoop.
His "Kind of Blue," is such a pure expression of musical yearning for freedom; such a pure expression of musical genius, such a pure stretching of the boundaries of musical form, and such a pure stripping away of social orthodoxy, that it alone serves as a transcendental model for yearnings for freedom that go far beyond the bounds of music or even the arts. We are unlikely to see one musical piece have such a profound impact on the psyche of a culture repeated ever again.
What a surprise it was to discover in this volume by Ulrike Becks-Morlarney, that Kandinsky was nothing if not a frustrated musician, using his palette of colors as a musician would use a horn: to express his emotions through the visual modalities of color, light and his own understated and reorganized idea of form. Kandinsky does so with the same freedom from the rigidity of structural orthodoxy as that expressed by Jazz musicians such as Coleman, Coltrane, Monk and Davis. And while any description of what was going on in his head has to be a vast oversimplification, it is not too much of an exaggeration to suggest that Kandinsky was a "revolutionary musician" with a paintbrush, an easel and a palette of colors, rather than a horn.
And just as Miles staged a quiet musical revolution with the album "Kind of Blue," one that overthrew a half-century of musical orthodoxy, Kandinsky, who gave up Law at the late age of 30, also staged a quiet revolution again the established orthodoxy of painting at the turn of the 19th Century. Both of these syn-esthetic trailblazers had keen cross-modal sensitivities and sensibilities, and could smell, feel, see and hear across and well beyond the established aesthetic boundaries. Both used these heightened sensitivities and sensibilities to burrow beneath the established orthodoxy so as to better upend it.
And upend it they did.
While Miles' used "structural understatement," "rhythmic nuance," and "tonal finesse" to get his abstracted musical message across, Kandinsky used "overstatement," "boldness," and "surprise" to communicate to us abstractly through colors, light and form. Miles' muted trumpet "tip-toed" across the musical canvas like "walking on egg shells," while Kandinsky's bold colors and angular lines "shocked and awed" the old representational objects and their representations motifs back into the closet somewhere well "off the stage" of the canvas.
And while there is a great deal that is both comic and tragic about the lives of both of these "larger-than-life" artistic geniuses, what provides the common thread between them is their relentless single mindedness yearning for freedom from mindless and repetitive orthodoxy. In the end their goals were the same: to free art (and by extension people) from the shackles of conventional orthodoxy and mindless constrictions. Taschen has produced an enduring masterpiece of artistic biography here. It summarizes in the most exquisite way the essence of the man, Wassily Kandinsky Five stars.
The power of art! Aug 30, 2007
"The artwork is composed of two elements. The inner and the outer. The inner element, regarded individually, is the emotion that feels the artist' s soul . That emotion is capable to provoke a parallel emotion in the spectator. Generally, while the soul remains bounded to body, only the vibrations will be able to be attracted though the sensation. Hence, the sensation is a bridge from the materialness toward material (artist) and vice versa (spectator). Emotion-Sensation-Work-Sensation- Emotion." (Wassily Kandinsky)
Wassili Kandinski represents by far, one of the highest peaks in what concerns the reinvention and redefinition of art, deeply worried about Theosophy, inaugurated several artistic movements in pursuit of new forms of expression. Indeed, his memories from Moscow, his unforgettable impressions from the childhood, generated a vigorous inner creator impulse that would become a true driving force.
The text describes with zealous detail, his metamorphoses in Munich since 1896 to 1911, his decisive meet with Gabriele Munter, his settlement in Murnau, as well as his breakthrough toward the abstraction "The blue rider" his interlude in Russia 1914-1921, his fruitful period in Bauhaus 1922-1933 until his last stage: the bio-morph abstraction in Paris 1934-1944.
That febrile disposition respect the perpetual innovation, the same fact he could live in worlds so opposite (October 1917, respect the new tendencies of Paris and Munich as gravity centers of fevered proposals), the sharp contrast between tradition and innovation, the breakthrough of so many paradigms, the Fauvism, Cubism, Impressionism, Constructivism, enlivened in his soul the imperious necessity to transcend the Halls of his art and thence, his concerns for publishing and divulgating his standpoints.
His life was a worthy example of Camus statement. "To create is to live twice" and this book provides of a very ordered sequence, every one of his different stages of transformation.
jammed packed Mar 6, 2004
Ulrike Becks-Malorny has brought recent perspectives on Kandinsky's career to further light with this new biography.
The density of the layout is phenomenal: so much is crammed into this volume it is almost unbelievable. It includes many plates in colour and numerous documentary photographs.
The handsome large format paperback begins with his artistic life in Munich, in the process showing many of his earliest impressionist, fauvist and folk inspired paintings, photographs and sketches, lino- and woodcuts, etchings and drawings never seen before.
Most illustrations are captioned with insightful comments about the work and matters of relevant historic interest.
It also shows how his work developed in dialogue with other artists, architects and musicians of his era, especially the Jugendstil artists, Gabriele Munter and other Blaue Reiter painters, Paul Klee, Adolf Hoelzel, Kasimir Malevich and Alexander Rodchenko.
My only problem with the book is in the non-justified text and choice of font in Times Roman, which in this particular leading, is not the easiest typeface to scan these days.