Mikhail Matiushin: Colour Handbook (1932/2007) [Russian]

22 September 2016, dusan

Mikhail Matiushin (1861-1934), a Russian composer and painter, studied physiology of human senses and developed his own concept of the fourth dimension connecting visual and musical arts, a theory that he put to practice in the classrooms of Leningrad Workshop of SVOMAS and GINKhUK (1918–1934) and summarized in his work 1932 Spravochnik po tsvetu [Colour Handbook].

“In Leningrad in the 1920s intensive colour research was made at GINKhUK “State Institute of Artistic Culture” where Kazimir Malevich was headmaster. In the ‘laboratories’ of form and colour a foundation for a union of art, science and practical application was developed. The ‘Department of Organic Culture’ was supervised by Matiushin.

By some miracle or oversight, Matiushin’s Colour Handbook passed censorship. Four hundred copies were published in Moscow and Leningrad in 1932, the same year that the Central Committee of the Communist Party took measures to centralise all art organisations. With Marxist-Leninist materialism as the only accepted method, Matiushin was obliged to express himself in terms of physics, physiology and chemical processes in the body in order to be politically accepted.

The fundamental concepts of Matiushin’s theory were ‘Organic Culture’ and ‘Spatial Realism’, which were also the names of the workshops he supervised as a ‘red professor’. Here Matiushin developed a training programme together with his students, including yoga, meditation and various exercises conceived to ‘create and develop the artist’. These new physical possibilities of perception were called ‘extended’ or ‘amplified vision’ which did not only include the eyes, but was expanded to involve hearing, tactility, and thinking – in short, a kind of conscious synaesthesia.

With a panoramic visual angle of 360° producing a new spatial reality of the fourth dimension, colours would emerge more intensely than in our normal, physical world. With untrained eyes a stone, for example, would seem ‘dead’, immobile, static. In the fourth dimension, however, it should be possible to see the low frequency waves of solid materials such as stones and minerals. With cars at one speed, people at another, trees growing at yet a third speed, to the untrained eye, the world seems scattered and fragmented. For those who could apply the extended vision however, the whole world would, from an ontological perspective, appear completely different, with all links and connections organically unified.

The Handbook is illustrated with thirty, handmade colour charts, each of them showing a combination of three different colours. Perception of the interconnection between colours was stressed rather than individual colours in isolation.

The book was but a small percentage of the work on colour vision Matiushin produced during his lifetime. After his death, his findings were stored away in archives and were largely forgotten as a result of the political circumstances in which they were conceived.” (Margareta Tillberg, 2001)

An English translation under the title “The Laws Governing the Variability of Colour Combinations: Colour Manual” appeared in Margareta Tillberg’s book Coloured Universe and the Russian Avant-Garde. Matiushin on Colour Vision in Stalin’s Russia, 1932, Stockholm University, 2003, pp 345-376.

Справочник по цвету. Закономерность изменяемости цветовых сочетаний
First published in Moscow/Leningrad, 1932
New edition D. Aronov, Moscow, 2007
ISBN 9785940560164
72 pages
via Tehne.com

Commentary: Bulat Galeyev (Leonardo, 2005).

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Annie van den Oever (ed.): Ostrannenie: On ‘Strangeness’ and the Moving Image: The History, Reception, and Relevance of a Concept (2010)

11 June 2016, dusan

“Ostrannenie (‘making it strange’) has become one of the central concepts of modern artistic practice, ranging over movements including Dada, postmodernism, epic theatre, and science fiction, as well as our response to arts. Coined by the ‘Russian Formalist’ Viktor Shklovsky in 1917, ostrannenie has come to resonate deeply in Film Studies, where it entered into dialogue with the Brechtian concept of Verfremdung, the Freudian concept of the uncanny and Derrida’s concept of différance. Striking, provocative and incisive, the essays of the distinguished film scholars in this volume recall the range and depth of a concept that since 1917 changed the trajectory of theoretical inquiry. European Film Studies ­ ‘The Key Debates is a new film series from Amsterdam University Press edited by Annie van den Oever (the founding editor), Ian Christie and Dominique Chateau. The editors’ ambition is to uncover and track the process of appropriation of critical terms in film theory in order to give the European film heritage the attention it deserves. With contributions from Ian Christie, Yuri Tsivian, Dominique Chateau, Frank Kessler, Laurent Jullier, Miklós Kiss, Annie van den Oever, Emile Poppe, László Tarnay, Barend van Heusden, András Bálint Kovács, and Laura Mulvey, this important study is a wonderful piece of imaginative yet rigorous scholarship.”

Publisher Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2010
The Key Debates series, 1
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 License
ISBN 9089640797, 9789089640796
278 pages

Reviews: Simon Spiegel (Projections, 2011), Lara Cox (Film-Philosophy, 2011), Sanna Peden (Studies in European Cinema, 2015).

OAPEN
WorldCat

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Robert Morris: Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris (1993)

1 September 2015, dusan

“Robert Morris is best known for his significant contributions to minimalist sculpture and antiform art, as well as for a number of widely influential theoretical writings on art. Illustrated throughout, this collection of his seminal essays from the 1960s to the 1980s addresses wide-ranging intellectual and philosophical problems of sculpture, raising issues of materiality, size and shape, anti-illusionism, and perceptual conditions.

Included are the influential ‘Notes on Sculpture’ which in four parts carefully articulates the shifting terrains of sculpture during the 1960s, tracing its movement from the gestalt-driven unitary forms of minimalism, through permutable pieces to the formally dispersed process-oriented antiform art that appeared later in the decade, and Morris’s landmark essay on ‘Anti Form’, which marked a departure from art as object. In ‘The Art of Existence’, Morris deftly and humorously invents three artists, who in their movement away from object-art and toward the extra-visual, reveal the limits and conditions of modern sculpture. Essays of the 1970s and 1980s reveal Morris’s preoccupation with the broad conditions of memory and space, which were explored in his experiments with land reclamation and land art, with labyrinthine environments and carceral imagery. In the later essays, Morris looks at modern art’s development in America, based on a framework of strategies produced by Duchamp, Pollock, and other key figures. And in a refiguration of an interview with Roger Denson, Morris acts out a subtle mockery of himself and his art, collapsing the high seriousness of the intended format into a playful scheme.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1993
An October Book
ISBN 026213294X, 9780262132947
xi+326 pages

Reviews: Gary Shapiro (Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 1997), Tony Godfrey (Art Book 1994).

WorldCat

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L. Moholy-Nagy: Vision in Motion (1947)

21 June 2015, dusan

“This book is written for the artist and the layman, for everyone interested in his relationship to our existing civilization. It is an extension of my previous book, The New Vision. But while The New Vision gave mainly particulars about the educational methods of the old Bauhaus, Vision in Motion concentrates on the work of the Institute of Design, Chicago, and presents a broader, more general view of the interrelatedness of art and life.” (from the author’s foreword)

Publisher Paul Theobald, Chicago, 1947
371 pages

WorldCat

PDF (114 MB, no OCR)

More from Moholy-Nagy

Ear | Wave | Event, 2: Listening? (2015)

13 May 2015, dusan

“Christoph Cox [stated at a recent conference on 'The Politics of Listening'] that artists’ projects must not simply be taken as illustrative of or addenda to theory, but that they propose other ways for us to listen. Coming from vastly different positions, the authors in [this] issue offer precisely such generative perspectives on listening and listening subjects from the privileged viewpoint of the practitioner. It is NOT that musicians should be the only ones to talk about sound, but that there is nevertheless a value in that specialist knowledge of music nerds who spend their days dealing with audio minutiae and the history thereof. A value which is also not to be confused with the positivist musicological valorization of such detail, but instead, a value that might still open out into an authentic interdisciplinarity.

The contributors to Issue 2 face the immense material complexity of listening head on – physically, technically, formally, politically, socially. Their contributions continually orbit the question, ‘What is Listening?,’ all the while deftly dodging all manner of all too common platitudes.” (from the Introduction)

With contributions by Lawrence English, Bill Dietz & Lawrence English, Brenda Hutchinson, Eric Laska, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Paolo Javier, Christian von Borries, Anna Bromley & Michael Fesca, J Zevin & Jim Ellis, Geoff Mullen, Matana Roberts, and Marc Sabat.

Edited by Bill Dietz and Woody Sullender, April 2015

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