Constructivism: The Definition Of Minimalism In Art

Good Essays
The definition of Minimalism is very broad. It can describe an attitude towards life or a movement within art, design, architecture, music or even literature. Whichever area of creative thinking it applies to, it’s bound to limit or narrow down the components, materials and visual or verbal factors. In Oxford’s dictionary of art, it has been defined as “Term used to describe a trend in painting and more especially sculpture, arising during the 1950s, in which only the most elemental geometric forms were used.” (Chilvers, et al., 1998, 333). Basic geometric shapes like square or a circle are fundamental elements of any art-related explanation of Minimalism. Frances Colpitt (1990) extends this meaning, discusses “organizing principles” and argues,…show more content…
One of the primary examples is Constructivism, which “refers to sculpture that is made from pieces of metal, glass, cardboard, wood or plastic (often in combination)” (Atkins, 1990, 66). The essential structure of Constructivist work consists of basic materials, either applied individually or simultaneously. Furthermore, Constructivist ideology “emphasizes space rather than mass” (Atkins, 1990, 66), which also represents Minimalistic approach. Creative use of space is meant to establish a harmony between the objects and the surroundings. The nature of clear space is essential, as it emphasizes the real message and helps those who perceive art focus on its most fundamental meanings. These principles, are also familiar to a method of art analysis – Formalism, which studies “work’s ‘formal’ qualities are those visual elements that give it form – its shape, size, structure, scale, composition, color, etc.” (Atkins, 1990, 80). All aspects of art studied by Formalists include the focal points of Minimalism and they represent what’s most…show more content…
Mentioned earlier Oxford Dictionary of Art (Chilvers, et al., 1998, 333), offers an additional segment of Minimalism’s definition: “Minimal art is associated particularly with the USA and its impersonality is seen as a reaction against the emotiveness of Abstract Expressionism”. By contrast, Abstract Expressionism does not appreciate the geometry values. The most distinctive creations rely on emotion and the power of the moment, lacking clear construction and pre-planned structure to it. Abstract Expressionism “is often characterised by gestural brush-strokes or mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity” (Tate, undated). Random movements shaping up the final form contradict the harmony between shapes, colours and space, resulting in a portrait of emotions rather than calm simplicity. This approach concludes what Atkins (1990, 36) named as “less of a style than an attitude”. One of the major works belonging to this category by Jackson Pollock, picturing that spontaneous freedom of expression, is an action painting. No. 5, 1948 (1948) (Fig. 2) is one of the most famous paintings by Pollock. It embodies what describes “an outlook characterized by a spirit of revolt against affiliations with traditional styles or prescribed technical procedures, renunciation of the ideal of a finished art product subject to traditional aesthetic canons, an aggressive spirit of self-determination”
Get Access