2015 / Paulina Sztabińska


It may seem that the term of concrete art excludes any discourse. However, it must be stressed that when applied to art, the notion “concrete” has a number of meanings.
As he characterised the concrete painting in his 1930 manifesto, Art Concret, Theo van Doesburg wrote in the first point that the “art is universal”. In the following points he claimed that the work of art should be conceived and formed in the artists’ mind before it is actually made in a material form. Also, works of art should not contain anything which has a source in a formal feature of nature, sensual sensitivity or emotionality. In Doesburg’s opinion, a painting should only contain artistic elements, that is, coloured surfaces which have no meaning beyond themselves. He also claimed that the structure should be strictly controlled and the technique used – a mechanical one. The final result was supposed to be an absolute clarity of the work of art.

2015 / Maciej Zdanowicz


1. The notion of a discursive geometry. The links of geometry with reality

In his considerations about the beginnings of art and prehistoric art, Wilhelm Worringer observes that the pursuit of a then-contemporary human beings to create geometrical patterns stems from the reactions to indefiniteness of natural phenomena. As Worringer defines it, the changeability of the conditions of nature triggers fear in aboriginal communities. Thus, the first creators begin to produce structured, which are characterised by stability and rationality in their form. As a result, the works of art are created which are in the opposition to ephemeral reality and identical with their creators’ intellectual structure. While perfecting the sense of observation and analysis, people notice specific regularities in their surroundings as well as the links occurring therein. Such capabilities are demonstrated in art, among other things, through developing a set of mathematical modi or by defining the proportions, the principles of a measurable anatomical structure of a human body. This forming of skills leads to a more profound reflexion upon the place where one is to live and function, the attempts of finding a transcendent dimension of the world. The possibility of a complex grasp of phenomena is demonstrated by the artists from the beginning of the 20th century. The abstraction based on the empirical investigation on one hand, and the intellectual reasoning on the other, leads to the development of a language of clean artistic forms. The creation is becoming an area for exploring the nature of perception, but also the goal in itself. Władysław Strzemiński understands the image as a creation parallel to the world of nature, with identical status, specific principles of creation and structure, just like any other element of the surroundings. In 1930, Theo van Doesburg proclaims the “Concrete Art Manifesto”, in which he calls for creation that will cease the imitation of nature. A similar opinion is expressed by Jean (Hans) Arp, who wrote in 1942: (…) we reject imitating nature, we do not want to recreate, but create, just like a plant which forms fruit (...).