Ironically one of the reasons that Kandinsky and other artists began to experiment with abstract art was the impact that photography had on the visual arts and its ability to more accurately depict reality. In this we are mindful of one of Kandinsky’s contemporaries in Moscow, Alexander Rodchenko who forsaking painting altogether in favour of photography, announced that easel painting was dead and that only photography could depict contemporary reality. The subsequent coupling of art with industry and production appealed to geometrical models of understanding reality eventually led away from the artistic strivings of the soul and the preeminence of the individual in creating a work of art.
Kandinsky on the other still maintained great faith in art’s ability to transform the world by impacting on the spiritual, emotional or psychological aspects of human experience. His work The Spiritual in art was a theoretical underpinning of these beliefs However there is one theme which unites Rodchenko and Kandinsky and binds them both to the avant-garde. It consists of a belief in the future and in the transmutation of the world which each artist is involved either in revealing its inner spiritual dynamism or as material content. In either case a new type of human being is envisaged for a new epoch.
These issues and more will be presented in a new book by Michael Craig which will be published later this year. The book will contain six chapters relating to the film series about the Russian Avant-garde plus additional material to be announced.by