Monday, September 25, 2006

Kandinsky at the Tate

Yesterday I went to see Kandinsky: The Path to Abstraction at the Tate Modern. I'll tell you what was abstracting - me, after dealing with the enormous crowd in the gallery. I went with the same friend who toured the Hermitage with me, and it wasn't exactly the same treatment.

I wasn't particularly enthused about the show, but this may have been partly due to the mistake of going to an exhibit on a Sunday afternoon and partly that I'm not hugely fond of Kandinsky's work. (Though I will say that, as per usual, the Tate Modern did a fantastic job of acquiring such an enormous volume and wide range of works.) It isn't that I don't get what Kandinsky was trying to do with abstraction, but it eliminates a lot of the individuality of each painting for me. Then again, this theory should purport that I feel the same about Rothko's work, but I don't. My friend perhaps said it best: (As we both stared at a painting in front of us), "God, that's the perfect visualization of how I feel when I'm nauseated."

A few years ago, I had to buy a card for someone important to me at really short notice. I dashed into a corner store and had to pick something that didn't have flowers or a cheesy greeting on it. The only banal, yet colourful one that fit this category was a Kandinsky print. I found myself walking around the exhibit yesterday thinking more about this person than about the paintings on the wall. What does this say about Kandinsky? What does this say about me?

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