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By Michel Henry

Michel Henry was once one of many major French philosophers of the 20th century. His quite a few works of philosophy are all prepared round the subject matter of lifestyles. unlike the clinical realizing of existence as a organic procedure, Henry's philosophy develops a belief of existence as a right away feeling of one's personal residing.
Seeing the Invisible marks Henry's so much sustained engagement within the box of aesthetics. via an research of the existence and works of Wassily Kandinsky, Henry uncovers the philosophical value of Kandinsky's revolution in portray: that summary artwork unearths the invisible essence of existence. Henry exhibits that Kandinsky separates colour and line from the limitations of seen shape and, in so doing, conveys the invisible depth of lifestyles. greater than only a learn of paintings heritage, this ebook provides Kandinsky as an artist who's engaged within the undertaking of portray the invisible and hence deals necessary methodological clues for Henry's personal phenomenology of the invisible.

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Extra resources for Seeing the Invisible: On Kandinsky

Sample text

Kandinsky’s abstraction came from a sudden failure of the object, its inability to define the content of the work any longer. This abstraction, this content—the ‘abstract content’—is invisible life in its ceaseless arrival into itself. This continual emergence of life, its eternally living essence, provides the content of painting and at the same time imposes a project on the artist, namely, that of expressing this content and this pathetic profusion of Being. ‘Abstract’ no longer refers to what is derived from the world at the end of a process of simplification or complication or at the end of the history of modern painting; instead, it refers to what was prior to the world and does not need the world in order to exist.

21 Form The means of painting are what Kandinsky calls ‘form’. The concept of form must therefore be understood in a broader sense. It includes not just forms in the strict sense of linear forms but also colours, or to recall the terminology of the 1913 article ‘Painting as a Pure Art’ which appeared in the magazine Der Sturm, the ‘painterly form’ and the ‘pictorial form’. With respect to the form understood in the broad sense as the means of all painting and with respect to painting as a mode of expression and as a way of showing, this same text unequivocally states: ‘Form is the material expression of abstract content’ (350).

How can they be subordinated to a foreign world and continue to depict the banal world of practical perception, when they are resplendent in their incandescent flesh and filled with infinite virtualities? The non-figurative use of colour, in turn, translates into one of Kandinsky’s great discoveries: the dissociation of colour and form. This opens the possibility for colour to break free from the limits in which form seeks to contain it. Knowing no barriers, overflowing the drawing, and exploding outside of the predefined space it was assigned until then, colour spreads out wherever it wants to, submitting only to its own force and its own volition.

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