At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell

The Kandinsky exhibition at Tate Modern until 1 October is subtitled ‘The Path to Abstraction’. As he stripped his work down, Kandinsky believed he was removing obstacles on the way to deeper experience. To look for goals beyond those defined by his Fauvish landscapes of the early 1900s was as much an intellectual decision as an aesthetic one. A new sensibility that communicated emotions and spiritual truths through form and colour alone would take the place of narrative content. Theosophy, folk art and folk traditions, children’s paintings and a specifically Russian take on the renewal of society, which had its roots in political as well as religious ideas, would all contribute to it.

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[*] Edited by Hartwig Fischer and Sean Rainbird (Tate, 224 pp., £35, May, 1 85437 677 2).