Minsheng Lecture: European Lyric Abstraction Art of cross-cultural / inter-cultural vision


Minsheng Lecture



Wang Di

Guest: Wang Di
Date: October 12, 2019
Time: 14:30-16:30
Venue: Multi-media Interactive Hall, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum (Xinyefang 3, Wenshui Road 210, Jing’an District)
Co-Host: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Perrotin

Due to the diverse opinion of “abstraction,” Abstraction Art as a whole category breeds multiple directions, forming radiative branches. Among these branches, European lyric abstraction art is opposed to the American cold abstraction, and also resonates with the distant oriented Calligraphy.

Hans Hartung in his studio.
Image from Hartung-Bergamn Foundation

Hans Hartung represented the lyric abstraction art, which emphasizes exploring the expression of inner emotion that gradually comes into shape. Though lyric abstraction does not come into shape without layers of calculations, impartiality, and continuous effort of revising, it eventually appears on canvas as feelings and emotion. Early in 1922, Hans Hartung launched his experiments to express refined feelings on canvas with free-flowing lines and watercolors. In his later years, his art style became mature—his whole color filed filled with wild lines that explore the intersecting of light and shade, juxtaposition of brightness and darkness, and the mystery effect. Hartung’s artistic style is somehow similar with Chinese calligraphy, which also emphasizes the free flowing spirit within the natural, spontaneous strokes.

Hans Hartung: Untitled, 1973. Acrylic on barium floor cardboard. 74.4x104.4 cm.
Photographer: Claire Dorn. © Hans Hartung / ADAGP, Paris, 2019.
Photo from Hartung-Bergamn Foundation and Perrotin

On the other hand, cold abstraction, represented by Pierre Soulages, is aimed to represent the balancing power of different colors, while the emphasis on full command of painting methods in plastic arts offers a most effective approach for cold abstraction art. Influenced by this creative philosophy, Pierre Soulages simplified full colors into black and white. Using wide strokes, he organized the canvas into a structural contrast with balanced visual language. It is not hard to find that, cold abstraction art deletes the tracks of curves: instead, vertical and horizonal structure become dominant. Cold abstraction art presents a neat matrix with short strokes that resemble the mathematical operation symbols. In this lecture, professor Wang Di is going to introduce different branches of abstraction art with a cross-cultural and inter-cultural vision, especially the European lyric abstraction art. Come to this lecture and learn more about the contended European lyric abstraction art.

About the lecturer

Wang Di

Wang Di, Master of Art History of China Academy of Art, PhD of Literature of East China Normal University. He is now an associate professor and supervisor of History of Art in East China Normal University. He is a member of China Artists Association, director of Shanghai Artists Association, and researcher of The Center for Jiangnan Culture Studies, East China Normal University. Wang is engaged in art history, art critics, and curating. He authored The Studies of Relations between Suzhou Poetry and Painting in Middle Ming Dynasty, Dictionary of Western Art and Artists, Foreign Art Admiration, The Magical Journey of Muse: The Essence of Foreign Art History, etc. Also, Wang Di is the lecturer of “Art Lessons,” a program broadcast by Shanghai Radio.