Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blavatsky and the Arts

The Beginning of Life (1900-1902)
by František Kupka (1871-1957)

A notice for the exhibition, Paths to Abstraction 1867-1917, on view from June 26 to September 19 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, contains the following oblique reference to the influence of HPB and shows that the media in some parts of the world still needs to be educated in this matter:

The artists who pioneered abstraction came from different intellectual positions. Malevich, Mondrian, Kupka and Kandinsky cast their experimental search in spiritual terms: they were all interested in theosophy, that mish-mash of world religions founded by the improbably named Madame Blavatsky. Malevich hung his Black Square across a corner of the show room, the position of religious icons in traditional Russian homes. Kandinsky's 1911 essay, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, is still in print. Other painters were politically motivated; others again were simply interested in the technicalities of their work. “I never never speak of mathematics,” Delaunay said, “and I never bother with spirit.”

The rest of the review, titled “Forget figures and look at the melody,” from The Australian can be read here.

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