Scheda libro
Non-Fiction

Vedere l’invisibile

Saggio su Kandinsky

  • Author: Michel Henry
  • Year: 2017
  • Language: Italian
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: 17,00 €
  • ISBN: 978-88-6010-187-7
  • Size: 15,5 x 23 cm

Every phenomenon is the material trace of the invisible forces that generated it, the inseparable fusion of content and form, of internal and external elements. This is how such painting should be understood, a form of painting freed from figurative intentions, which aspires to embody sensations, emotions and passions: in a word, the intimate essence of life.

This was the sense of the revolution brought about at the dawn of the last century by Kandinsky, the founder of abstract painting. It is the subject examined in this essay by Michel Henry, whose ideas on phenomenology all hinge on the theme of life, the life that the “pioneer of pioneers” aimed to represent pictorially in his pulsating invisibility. It was no longer a question of “abstracting from” some element of the visible world, nor of grasping an external appearance already constituted to give it back in the form of a more or less mimetic image. The challenge was to bring to light something that did not previously exist except in a secret dimension. But if the art of painting, by his own definition, is display of the visible that is shown in shapes and colours, how can it give shape to a reality hidden from view? Based on an analysis of the theoretical literature that has accompanied the development of Kandinsky’s abstract art and which provides an excellent route to understanding his work, Henry shows how the artist separates colour and line from the constraints of the visible form: every line is the product of a force, every colour is linked to an affective tone, an inner sonority. If we are essentially force and affect, then lines and colours allow our deepest inner self to emerge.  

Rather than underpinning a simple art movement, Kandinsky’s abstraction therefore reveals to us the profound truth of art, which to a certain extent is all abstract, freed from having to stick to the external world. Grasping the principles of this revolution is equivalent to understanding that art is the highest expression of the potency of life and, ultimately, its most exemplary objectivization.

  • About the author
  • Contents

Michel Henry (1922-2002) was one of the greatest philosophers in the second half of the 20th century. He spent his academic life at the Université Paul-Valéry in Montpellier until 1982, also working as a novelist at the same time. His work on the phenomenology of appearing, of affectivity, on the philosophies of corporeity and incarnation, on life and its ways of giving and revealing, on the phenomenology of the invisible, on the philosophy of Christianity – to mention only the central themes – had major repercussions in various philosophical and cultural areas.

1. Interno/esterno: l’invisibile e il visibile
2. Cosa significa “astratto” nell’espressione “pittura astratta”
3. La forma
4. La forma pittorica pura
5. La forma astratta: la teoria degli elementi
6. Lo svelamento della pittoricità
7. Il punto
8. La linea
9. La superficie di fondo
10. L’unità degli elementi
11. Dei colori invisibili
12. Forme e colori
13. Difficoltà relative all’unità dei colori e delle forme
14. La composizione
15. L’arte monumentale
16. Musica e pittura
17. L’essenza dell’arte
18. Ogni pittura è astratta
19. L’arte e il cosmo