It couldn’t come more full cirlce: Kandinsky created his only stage production based on Mussorgsky’s piano cycle, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” inspired by a photo exhibition. Kandinsky’s stage designs are now on exhibit.
“Pictures at an Exhibition” were originally a cycle of works for piano written by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. For artist Wassily Kandinsky, the cycle served as a basis for his first and only theater project, which was premiered in the German city of Dessau in 1928.
The stage designs for the production are now being exhibited, in honor of the painter’s 150th birthday, in Kandinsky’s former residence in Dessau.
Wassily Kandinsky was out to create a synthetic “Gesamtkunstwerk.” For him, that meant that sounds took on hues that listeners could see before their eyes as they listened to the music. It was intended to be a Gesamtkustwerk of sound, color and motion.
“Worldwide, only two series remain from the stage designs – one in Centre Pompidou in Paris and the other in a theater studies collection at the University of Cologne,” said Harald Wetzel, organizer of the exhibition at the Dessau Masters’ Houses. Included in the exhibition are images from the Cologne collection.
The home of a Bauhaus artist
Wassily Kandinsky lived and worked in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 as a master with the Bauhaus school of art and design. Those were his most productive years. Over 500 painters and watercolors were created in his studio in the masters’ settlement.
The so-called masters’ houses were designed for the Bauhaus teachers – by none other than architect and Bauhaus director Walter Gropius himself. In 1926, the artistic movement relocated from Weimar to Dessau and spent just a year and a half erecting a college building and the masters’ houses.
A foundation for the Dessau Masters’ Houses takes care of preserving the four houses, a unique architectural ensemble of great historical value. They have since been restored to their original design and color.
The rooms in Kandinsky’s former home usually stand empty – except for the color accents. The artist preferred color on the ceilings, doors and walls, including light green, white, crimson, black and ocher. They are the same colors that Kandinsky integrated into his stage designs, which – along with the geometrical forms – are typical for Bauhaus.
Musical geometry on stage
In the spring of 1874, composer Modest Mussorgsky saw a retrospective of befriended painter and architect Viktor Hartmann. Included were pictures that Hartmann had taken on a journey to Europe, such as the Great Gate of Kyiv, an Italian palace, and the catacombs of Paris.
Mussorgsky composed “Pictures at an Exhibition” in memory of Hartmann, who had died the previous year. It’s not entirely clear which of Hartmann’s pictures had inspired Mussorgsky the most.
Wassily Kandinsky, however, was fascinated by the music and began to express his impressions in his artwork. “Kandinsky’s task was to turn the music into paintings,” said Harald Wetzel.
For the stage production of “Pictures at an Exhibition,” various geometrical elements were supposed to be pushed onto the stage or pulled off of it. “The exhibited pictures give just a limited impression of the stage production,” explained Wetzel. “The individual elements were constantly in motion.”
While the orchestra played, images came into being on stage – in sync with the music.
Dessau remained the only cite where Kandinsky’s work was performed, although a performance in the US had originally been planned. It wasn’t until the a 1983 festival in Berlin that the work was reconstructed by students from the Berlin University of the Arts, based on a script and the stage designs from the collection at the University of Cologne.
Since then, many versions of Kandinsky’s production have been staged, including multimedia variations with video, which are presented now and then in concert halls and museums from New York to Hong Kong.
Kandinsky’s original stage designs are on display in Dessau through May 22, 2016.
The new exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, from 19th March
Starting in March and running until July 2016, the new exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, From Kandinsky to Pollock. The Art of the Guggenheim Collections, brings over 100 masterpieces of European and American art from the 1920s and the 1960s to Florence in a narrative that reconstructs the relationship and ties between the two sides of the Atlantic through the lives of two leading American collectors, Peggy and Solomon Guggenheim.
Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, the exhibition – the result of a cooperative venture involving the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York – will offer a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the crucial works of European masters of modern art such asMarcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Man Ray and European masters of so-called Art Informel, or “Unformed Art”, such as Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Jean Dubuffet and Lucio Fontana, with large paintings and sculptures by some of the most influential personalities on the American art scene in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Jackson Pollock, Marc Rothko, Wilhelm de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly.
This exceptional exhibition also celebrates the Guggenheims’ very special tie with the city, because it was precisely in Palazzo Strozzi’s Strozzina undercroft that Peggy Guggenheim, who had only recently arrived in Europe, decided in February 1949 to show the collection that was later to find a permanent home in Venice.
The large paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs on display at Palazzo Strozzi on loan from the Guggenheim collections in New York and Venice and from other leading international museums, paint a vast fresco of the extraordinarily heady season of 20th century art in which Peggy and Solomon Guggenheim played such a key role. They also tell the fast-paced story of the birth of the Neo-Avant-Garde movements after World War II in a tight and uninterrupted interplay between European and American artists.
Source: Firenze Made In Tuscany
Helen Mirren on Vasily Kandinsky
Filmed by Lost & Found Films. Produced by MoMA
Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 1. 1914. Oil on canvas. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2. 1914. Oil on canvas. Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 3. 1914. Oil on canvas. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4. 1914. Oil on canvas. Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). All works in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art and © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
© 2011 The Museum of Modern Art
A pioneer of abstract art and eminent aesthetic theorist, Vasily Kandinsky (b. 1866, Moscow; d. 1944, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) broke new ground in painting during the first decades of the twentieth century. His seminal treatise Über das Geistige in der Kunst (On the Spiritual in Art), published in Munich in December 1911, lays out his program for developing an art independent from observations of the external world. In this and other texts, as well as his work, Kandinsky advanced abstraction’s potential to be free from nature, a quality of music that he admired. The development of a new subject matter based solely on the artist’s “inner necessity” would occupy him for the rest of his life.
This presentation of select works from the Guggenheim collection traces Kandinsky’s aesthetic evolution: his early beginnings in Munich at the start of the century, the return to his native Moscow with the outbreak of World War I, his interwar years in Germany as a teacher at the Bauhaus, and his final chapter in Paris.
At the age of 30, Moscow native Wassily Kandinsky had a comfortable career teaching law and economics, and he gave it all up to enroll in art school in Munich.
But things didn’t go exactly to plan. Kandinsky failed on his first attempt to gain admission to school, so he began his study of art on his own time. The year before he left Moscow, the budding artist saw an exhibit of paintings by Monet, and he was stunned by the power of the impressionistic style of the series “Haystacks,” as he noted:
“I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed — with surprise and confusion — that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendor.”
When Kandinsky returned to Moscow following the outbreak of World War I, his early impressionist style hardened into a more avant-garde, geometric pictorial vocabulary. The paintings — once filled with compositional elements taken from nature and resembling clouds, the sun, mountains, and references to the landscape painting tradition — devolved to geometric and basic biomemetic keys which heralded a new vision of what art could become.
Works like Kandinsky’s “Composition” series became lynchpins of abstract painting and inspired generations of painters to follow suit in their search for new forms of expression.
“The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions,” Kandinsky said of the metamorphosis of his style. “It combines the concentric and the eccentric in a single form and in equilibrium. Of the three primary forms, it points most clearly to the fourth dimension.”
And now three former Autodesk employees who worked on AutoCAD for mobile have looked to the past to create new software which brings 3D printing to bear on the future of design and artistic expression.
“We chose ‘Composition VIII’… since the original idea behind this series of compositions was to experiment with the medium of painting,” says Eviathar Meyer, the co-founder and CEO of UMake. “Our take was to do the same sort of experimentation, but interpreting it within the medium of 3D design and printing. We wanted to showcase a piece that uses geometric shapes to be seen as an architectural plan from one angle, and as modern artwork from another.”
Meyer says the process of making the piece wasdivided among different tools and methods. The team started by sketching the geometric shapes and lines using their app, UMake.
“It’s just easier to trace over and sketch these shapes on a tablet and stylus, rather than tracing it over with a mouse on desktop software. After we finished the sketch in 2D, we started to create surfaces from the geometry,” Meyer says. “It was fun playing with that and imagining how a city could be created from a 2D piece of art.”
Once the original sketches were complete, the result was exported to the IGES file format and refined with Rhino 5. The 3D design for printing was fleshed out by filling any gaps and sharpening details, and then the files were taken to TechFactoryPlus for output on a Witbox 3D printer.
“We debated whether to use PLA or wood materials, because I really loved the wood texture, but eventually we decided to go with white PLA so it would better represent a blank white canvas,” Meyer said. “It took us around six hours to print this model, and the quality of the Witbox was pretty incredible – it worked perfectly on the first try.”
Meyer says his nascent company is launching a private-beta this week, and he adds that the software will support iPad 3rd generation or iPad Mini 2 and up when running iOS 8. He says the purpose of the beta program is to test the user experience for UMake to see how improvements can be made to enable more people to make 3D designs easily and intuitively on their tablets.
Would you be interested in 3D software like UMake for your tablet? Let us know if you plan to sign up for the UMake beta process in the Painting Meets 3D Design and Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of the production process for turning the 2D painting into a 3D sculpture.
by Te Edawards
Source: 3D Print
A recent study shows that mice can indeed have preferences to paintings, given the proper morphine reinforcement.
In a paper called “Preference for and Discrimination of Paintings by Mice” by Shigeru Watanabe, published on June 6 in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the Japanese psychology professor pitted Renoir against Picasso and Kandinsky against Mondrian for critical rodent affection.
As his abstract explains:
In general mice did not display a painting preference except for two mice: one preferred Renoir to Picasso, and the other preferred Kandinsky to Mondrian. Thereafter, I examined discrimination of paintings with new mice. When exposure to paintings of one artist was associated with an injection of morphine (3.0 mg/kg), mice displayed conditioned preference for those paintings, showing discrimination of paintings by Renoir from those by Picasso, and paintings by Kandinsky from those by Mondrian after the conditioning. They also exhibited generalization of the preference to novel paintings of the artists. After conditioning with morphine for a set of paintings consisting of two artists, mice showed discrimination between two sets of paintings also from the two artists but not in association with morphine. These results suggest that mice can discriminate not only between an artist’s style but also among paintings of the same artist.
Watanabe previously did a study with pigeons where they learned to discriminate between slides of paintings by Monet and Picasso, and he also worked with pigeons to get them to discriminate between “good” and “bad” art by schoolchildren. And in yet another study, he looked at the preference for paintings by Java sparrows and “found that six of seven birds preferred cubist paintings to impressionist paintings.”
Why bother with this rather whimsical research? Well, the idea that art and the appreciation of aesthetics is a human thing is one that Watanabe is confronting with these studies, where the cognition that something is beautiful or ugly, or “good” or “bad” with art can reflect sensory experiences in other species, as well as show that the experience of art is tied to the experience of pleasure.
While the mice got morphine and the birds got food for their either spending more time with a painting or choosing it with the tap of a button (for the judging pigeons), humans get this in a less food-based way. However, rodents are even more interesting being that they’re not considered as visual as birds, and in the end they mostly didn’t really seem to care if they were with Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” Kandinsky’s “Mondo Blue,” Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror,” or Renoir’s “Rowers at Argenteuil” (all paintings used in the study, you can see them all here). A sample result: “Analysis of individual mice revealed only one mouse out of 20 mice displayed some preference for Kandinsky during 6 days of the test (t(5) = 2.53, P = 0.053), suggesting the rare possibility of picture preference in mice.”
Given that some art just needs the right audience, maybe the mice would be more open to something sculptural or installation-based for their tactile little feet? Here’s hoping Watanabe continues his intriguing studies to make art critics of the animal world.
by Allison Meier