Timeless Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 28 (second version) (Improvisation 28 [zweite Fassung]), 1912. Oil on canvas, 111.4 × 162.1 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection.

Have you ever imagined a visual experience where each of your senses is awakened; the smell of the vivid reds, the sound of the poignant blue, or even the taste of the lemony yellows? With his bold use of primary colours, Wassily Kandinsky implores the viewer to consult each sense while viewing his paintings. Kandinsky created some of my most beloved masterpieces of art. Each piece appeals to me in a synaesthetic manner. His distinct use of colour, line, and forms cultivates a full sensory experience.   

The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario, features six of Kandinsky’s paintings from 1910 to 1918. My personal favourite is a piece from his Der Blaue Reiter phase, Improvisation 28, 1912.

I love how this work refreshes, confronts, and excites me. The jarring lines various shapes and sizes; straight, jagged, flowing, squiggly, spiked, sweeping—entice the viewer’s eye up, in, and around the painting. The freely flowing forms allow the viewer to create his or her own abstract fantasies. Created on the heels of the First World War, Kandinsky offers his take on the social and technological changes of the time, and experiments with new ways of abstraction.

I encourage you, if you already haven’t, to hop on the subway immediately, and make your way down to the AGO to experience a divine full sensory performance.

Maddy Tripp

*The Great Upheaval is currently on display until March 2, 2014 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto.

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