We understand by the term Concrete Art art works completely build up with purely plastic elements like elementary forms, line and colour. The (pictorial) elements do not refer to anything else. They are what they are. The construction of the painting or sculpture is extremely simple and visually controllable. This mathematically inspired art form aspires an absolute clarity and avoids subjectivity.
The paintings are not windows into another space. They do not refer to the visual world outside the artwork. They are constructed in the head of the artist and emphasize their own physicality. A concrete artwork does neither refer to the personal feelings of the artist. This aspect of the “impersonal” in Concrete Art is often connected with a systematic approach and predetermind procedure.
Yet within these principles which aim to objectivity and universality you still can distinguish the work of one artist from the other. It seems to be a contradictio in terminis that the unpersonal is at the same time personal. But within the use of only clean geometrical elements and colors the artist still possesses a variety of possibilities to make his point. Every artist will develop a specific vocabulary and approach within the bounds of concrete art depending for instance of the measure of intuitivity or on the contrary the use of systems, or a certain sensitivity towards the material.
Concrete Art has been an important movement in the history of modern art since the 1920’s. It was the Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg who coined the name Concrete Art as he wrote his manifest “Art Concret” which got published in April 1930 on the cover of the magazine Art Concret in Paris. He stated that there was nothing more concrete or more real than a line, a color, or a plane. And that the work of art should be conceived and shaped by the mind before its execution. Since then there always have been artists who got inspired by this concrete art theory. Nowadays the concrete art tradition still inspires many artists all over the world. Though it never became a predominant movement, so many artists work in the concrete art tradition that you tend to think that the concrete art concept is a very adequate way of expressing which suits the current time.
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