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LIBERATION OF COLOR: THE COLOR THEORY OF KANDINSKY


Feiman Chang*


Department of Visual Communication Design, The College of Design, National Taiwan University of Arts,Taipei, Taiwan


*Corresponding author: Feiman Chang, feiman@ntua.edu.tw


Keywords: Theosophy, Color contrast, Internal necessity

Poster presentation: https://youtu.be/DSsyCHZo-TQ




Color Theory is the source of inspiration for western artists from the 19th century. Color Theory pushes their creative work towards abstraction. Artists from the late 19th century were influenced by French Neo-Impressionism’s Divisionism Theory. Therefore, when artists explored color, they were not restricted by the requirements of the object itself. They pursued the power of color, implying that the activity when color is separated from its figurative function. While color theory became a key source for many pursuing color liberations, Kandinsky explored inner artistry. His book "On the Spiritual in Art" published in 1912, emphasized that color is not based on any explicit scientific basis. Instead, it is the result of experience and feeling, and color is a means of exerting a direct influence on the soul. In his writings, he announced that he would smash the burden of materialism to seek the liberation of art and advocated that the purpose of art is not to capture the specific shape of things but to capture its essence and soul. Kandinsky's beliefs are influenced by metaphysics rather than science, and in his writings, he alludes to the use of color to achieve complete abstract creations. This study begins with "On the Spiritual in Art" and explores the color theory that underpins Kandinsky's development toward abstraction. Kandinsky pursued the mystery and spirituality of colors from the color theory of the theosophical scholar Steiner, and religious belief was one of the keys to his completion of the color theory. Kandinsky creates harmony with the opposition and contradiction produced by the color contrast. He believes that harmony is based on the principle of opposition and is the main principle for creating art in any era. The theory of color contrast comes from the influence of Adolf Hölzel. The sensory and spatial contrast produced by color contrast can make the color spiritual. By overcoming the materiality of painting and creating "immaterial painting", which is achieving abstract arts’ "principle of internal necessity".


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