Concrete Art, also known as Concrete Abstraction, is an art movement that emerged in the early 20th century, characterized by the use of pure forms and colors.
It is a type of abstract art that emphasizes the visual elements of art, such as line, shape, color, and texture, rather than representing recognizable objects or ideas.
Concrete Art is often associated with geometric abstraction, minimalism, and constructivism, and it has had a significant influence on modern art and design.
Origins of Concrete Art
Concrete Art emerged in Europe in the 1930s as a reaction against the figurative and expressionistic tendencies of contemporary art.
The Swiss artist Max Bill, one of the pioneers of the movement, defined Concrete Art as “art that is created from the materials of our time and that addresses itself to the eye as purely optical experience.”
Concrete Art rejected the subjective and emotional qualities of art in favor of a more objective and rational approach.
The term “Concrete Art” was coined by the Brazilian artist Waldemar Cordeiro in the 1950s, who used it to describe the work of a group of artists in São Paulo who were exploring geometric abstraction.
Concrete Art became popular in Latin America, where it was seen as a way of expressing the region’s modernity and progress.
Characteristics of Concrete Art
Concrete Art is characterized by a strict adherence to geometric shapes and colors.
The use of curves, organic forms, or representational images is avoided.
The artists who practice Concrete Art believe that the purity of form and color can evoke emotions and sensations without the need for recognizable subjects.
One of the principles of Concrete Art is the use of a limited color palette, usually consisting of primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) and their complementary colors (green, purple, and orange).
The colors are used in a deliberate and systematic way, often arranged in simple patterns or grids.
The use of geometry is also a hallmark of Concrete Art.
Artists use basic geometric shapes, such as squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles, to create their compositions.
The shapes are often arranged in a regular pattern, giving the work a sense of order and symmetry.
Concrete Art also emphasizes the use of flat surfaces and simple materials.
The artwork is often made with industrial materials, such as metal, plastic, or concrete, and the surface is left unadorned, without any texture or brushstrokes.
Examples of Concrete Art
One of the most famous Concrete Art pieces is Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue, by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
The painting, which was created in 1930, is a prime example of the use of primary colors and geometric shapes to create a harmonious composition.
Another notable Concrete Art artist is the Swiss painter and sculptor Max Bill.
His work is characterized by a strict adherence to geometric forms and a minimalist aesthetic.
One of his most famous works is the sculpture Endless Ribbon, which is made of stainless steel and consists of a single continuous loop.
In Latin America, Concrete Art was embraced by a group of artists known as the Concrete Art movement.
The Brazilian artist Lygia Clark was one of the leaders of the movement, and her work explored the relationship between form and space.
Her sculptures, such as Bichos (Animals), are made up of modular elements that can be rearranged by the viewer.
Impact of Concrete Art
Concrete Art has had a significant impact on modern art and design.
Its emphasis on pure form and color has influenced many artists and designers, from the minimalist sculptors of the 1960s to the graphic designers of today.
Concrete Art also had a social and political dimension.
In Latin America, it was seen as a way of expressing the region’s modernity and progress, and it was often associated with leftist political movements.
In Europe, the movement was seen as a response to the chaos and violence of World War II, and it was embraced by architects and designers who were interested in creating a new, rational order.
Concrete Art – Wrap Up
Concrete Art is an important art movement that emphasizes the use of pure form and color to create a visual experience.
It rejects the representational and emotional qualities of art in favor of a more objective and rational approach.
Concrete Art has had a significant impact on modern art and design, and its legacy can be seen in the work of many contemporary artists and designers.