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  • Wendy-Marie Marie

Kandinsky's Path to Spirituality in Art

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Thanks to an article I was asked to read for our Interdisciplinary seminar last semester, Kandinsky and Schoenberg: Abstraction as a Visual Metaphor of Emancipated Dissonance by Magdalena Dabrowski, I discovered Kandinsky's theories on art. Shortly after reading this article, I found a copy of Kandinsky's, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, in the library and a whole new world opened itself to me. A world in which the making of art is approached using musical principals and form & color are chosen intentionally to create specific energetic connections. It is passionate, somewhat romantic theory but resonates deeply within me.


As an openly spiritual person (spiritual not religious), I have been struggling to create a symbiotic relationship between my writing and my spirituality. I often write dark humor, which sometimes contradicts my wish to put positive energy into the universe. But it is what bubbles up from within, so I try to trust the flow of creativity in the moment without judgement. Unfortunately, I am partially human and tend to second guess everything I write.


Kandinsky describes an artistic composition as “an expression of a slowly formed inner feeling, which comes to utterance only after long maturing” and calls a complex composition, which consists of various forms, symphonic (Kandinsky, 109). In his painting, Composition V, the “crashing symphony of colliding forms” is considered a “visual equivalent of Schoenberg's emancipated dissonances" (Dabrowski, 89).

Composition V by Wassily Kandinsky, 1911, oil on canvas. University of California, San Diego. Artstor, library-artstor-org.proxy.library.ohio.edu/asset/ ARTSTOR_103_41822000863983.

I want to write a play that expresses the beauty of this dissonance and embodies the complex contradictions inherent within human beings. I want to create a flow of theatrical transformation that makes room for darkness and humor, to embrace the "Ovidian form" playwright Sarah Ruhl mentions in her100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater. “Ovid simply flies,” she says, “and it is difficult to teach the art of flying” (32). I have no idea what will come of this exploration but I never really do when starting a play. I could approach the process of creating an original full-length play for my dissertation as my "one shot" to finally get it right ... or simply follow this inspiration and see what happens. So far writing under the stress of the need to succeed hasn't helped me create a full-length produceable play, so I'm game for this experiment.


Who knows? Maybe my vampires will be waiting for me at the end of the path.


References:

Dabrowski, Magdalena. “Kandinsky and Schoenberg: Abstraction as a Visual Metaphor of Emancipated Dissonance.” Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider, edited by Esther da Costa Meyer, Fred Wasserman, The Jewish Museum, New York, 2003.

Kandinsky, Wassily, and Michael T. H. Sadler. Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Tate, 2007.

Ruhl, Sarah. 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

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