October 08, 2004

Review: Kandinsky Complete Writings On Art

3 out of 5 stars

This is a fascinating book. It does exactly what it says on the cover. Kandinsky, although criticized by some for his argument that painting could follow exactly the same rules as music ( a misrepresentation?), had some powerful ideas on art, painting, creativity and pedagogy. For example, this from his time teaching at the Bauhaus…

The main aim of all teaching should be to develop the capacity for thought in two simultaneous directions: 1. the analytical and 2. the synthetic. We should thus exploit the heritage of the preceding century (analysis = diessection) and, at the same time, so extend and deepen it by our synthetic approach that young people acquire the ability to experience and to demonstrate organic connections between apparently widely separated realms (synthesis = connection).
Then young people would desert the petrified atmosphere of "either-or" for the flexible, living atmosphere of "and" – analysis as a means to synthesis. Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, Lindsay and Vergo, publ. Da Capo 1994, p.724

He goes on to assert that there are not different "modes of thought" and creativity applicable to the different arts and sciences. This is, as Duchling claims, what leads him into the disagreement with Klee over the applicability of musical methods to painting.

Did Deleuze and Guattari read this? Disjunctive synthesis, conjunctive synthesis, connective synthesis being key elements in Anti-Oedipus.

The book only has black and white images, and index is not quite as extensive as i'd like. As a cosequence i've not yet found anything on synaesthesia. So i only give it three stars.

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