‘There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.’ Pablo Picasso
So I gave that a try:
This photo is not of some abstract art. Rather it is a close up of a ceramic bowl on display in the Kunstmuseum in the Hague.
Piet Mondrian had the following to say about this subject of abstract:
‘Non-figurative art is created by establishing a dynamic rhythm of determinate mutual relations which excludes the formation of any particular form.‘
Taken like this, this photo of another bowl on permanent display in this museum is a piece of abstract art. Just as the photo above. But the reality I’ve removed – the bowl as a particular form – has created the first part of Mondrian’s viewpoint.
Here’s another example (whether you label this as art is beside the point, it is abstract):
This is a close up of a picture of the inside of a nuclear plant or something like that. It gets its abstract qualities by losing its meaning altogether. In this case by re-framing an already non-familiar object of sorts by just highlighting a subsection of it.
So far, I’ve used ‘objects of reality’ like already existing pieces of art or highly unfamiliar objects as a source to create something abstract. But that is not always necessary:
Whether you like this or not – rate it as art or rubbish (I do hope the latter) – it does ponder the question: what did ‘reality’ look like then? This was my original photo:
Do you always re-frame reality to create something abstract? Absolutely in my mind, but I’m open to other points-of-view.
I am capable of re-framing reality into something abstract by taking something physical as my starting point. Hence I’m not an artist and am I not producing art, merely some abstract ‘nonsense’ such as this:
Then what makes for good abstract art?
Please do not get me wrong… I’m a fan of abstract art. Good abstract art. Abstract art that comes from a vision. As a good Dutch kid I was spoon fed with the work of Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, and the other of their De Stijl movement contemporaries.
In the early 1980s I was a co-owner of a gallery specialized in Sōsaku Hanga (modern prints).
The paragraphs above are merely the summation of various conversations (as far as I can still recall these after 40 years) I had with the master of Japanese abstract art, Toko Shinoda. She said about her way of working:
‘Certain forms float up in my mind’s eye. Aromas, a blowing breeze, a rain-drenched gust of wind…the air in motion, my heart in motion. I try to capture these vague, evanescent images of the instant and put them into vivid form.’