Box
Box
Posts List
  1. References

Violet•Orange

This post is the English version of 紫罗兰•橙, and its primary goal is to improve my English writing skills while also making my perspective available to a wider audience…

Kandinsky’s work, particularly the Composition series, is well-known. When I went to the Guggenheim Museum a few days ago, however, one commonplace work stood out: Violet-Orange,for which we only have the name and years, with little else to rely on:


Violet-Orange Description

Violet-Orange

Violet-Orange

The massive mauve background is rarely seen in Kandinsky’s other works. The eye-catching deep purple and orange split the painting in half, creating a dramatic chemical reaction against the light purple. All of the tiny dissonance generated by the collision of purple and orange is also neutralized and transitioned by the hanging geometric shapes.

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

I continue walking. The show was presented in a flashback format, and I began from the end to ensure that everything was in chronological order. As a result, I can only learn about the painter’s experience after looking at artworks from the same historical period, which is also fun. After a few more paintings, I came across this:

He incorporated a soft palette of pastels and jewel tones conjuring his early depictions of Russia and fairy-tale subjects —— and revealing little of the dejection surrounding his departure from Nazi Germany in late 1933.

So a gorgeous painting like Violet-Orange is created during such a wolf smoke?


A BEGINNING AT THE END

A BEGINNING AT THE END

Many of Kandinsky’s works from the same period are bright and bold in color, but this is the first one that popped into my head. Unlike Composition VIII, which is a naive macaron, or Composition IX, which is vivid and passionate, Violet-Orange comprises colors of various hues, purity, saturation, and even shades of gray, making it appear more flexible and light. The theme of this work is vague but also uncanny regarding its creation time. Despite the fact that my “love” for this artwork originated with its beauty, I can now discover a less superficial rationale for it, even though seeking something that must be “less superficial” is also pointless.

Composition VIII

Composition VIII

Composition IX
Composition IX

This time, when I returned, I noticed the “secret” of the repeating left and right colors: the light Morandi block in orange and light green on the left, the blush pink jewel green in dark purple and the blush pink jewel green that also occurs on the right. These will go unnoticed at first, but they will have an inexplicable effect on the viewer’s emotions. Black and white is used here, as it is in many of his other works, yet it does not overwhelm the viewer. Also, the orange saturation is just good, not too bright but not too garish. The bottom of the vertical strip is brilliant yellow, the middle is a lighter brighter orange, and the top is a slightly more saturated orange, giving this picture its own identity without detracting from its overall harmony.

Standing in front of this painting, I feel engulfed by that large purple-orange-black block, and it’s difficult to spot a small patch of dark violet on the right side; yet, it’s probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve looked at the entire piece. It’s like listening to a symphony and suddenly being aware of some amazing sounding passage, even though it’s already there in the subconscious.

I never thought about whether I was gazing at curving rainbows and ladders, plankton or fairy tales, or even the three-dimensional layers Kandinsky wished to depict, but this work captivated me.

Another version of Violet-Orange

Another version of Violet-Orange from WIKIART

With the photos taken with my phone which were far from its original appearance, I was hesitant to leave. The pictures I found elsewhere were unlikely to restore this sense of hierarchy, let alone the fact that it is different from those masterpieces, and there are mostly no detailed descriptions and explanations belonging to it on the Internet.

At the end, which was actually the beginning of the exhibition, I turned around, Violet-Orange was immediately across the museum from me. It was already gray and dreary at this distance, lacking the vibrancy and tenderness it had at close range. So I returned to the original position and stood there for quite some time.

After I left, I was really unable to find a restored “portrait”. In my memory, the mauve was like a coating of fog, a layer of veil; while in the electronic form, the color block is uneven and there is no sense of clarity. The purple and orange above have lost their jumpy and harmonic vibe, the light green on the left side is less blurry, and black has become more attention-grabbing. Everything has changed.

Around the Circle

Guggenheim Museum,the theme is Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle

Orange, according to Kandinsky’s color theory, sounds like a middle-range church bell, which conveys seriousness and health, while violet sounds like an English horn or bassoon, all of which are capable of expressing a wide range of emotions - particularly melancholy. Looking at the paintings with these “laws”, I was less energized and delighted than when I first saw them, and I began to pray that I would forget these theories instantly.

“enchanted . . . by an unexpected spectacle that confronted me in my studio. It was the hour when dusk draws in. I returned home . . . still dreamy and absorbed in the work I had completed, and suddenly saw an indescribably beautiful picture, pervaded by an inner glow. At first, I stopped short and then quickly approached this mysterious picture, on which I could discern only forms and colors and whose content was incomprehensible. At once, I discovered the key to the puzzle: it was a picture I had painted, standing on its side against the wall.” Kandinsky was unable to re-create this visual experience during the light of day, recalling, “I constantly recognized objects, and the fine bloom of dusk was missing. Now I could see clearly that objects harmed my pictures.”

—— “objects harmed my pictures”,perhaps it isn’t a good idea to jot down these strong feelings regarding the painting. After all, the beauty of the blue rose lies in its unobserved quantum state. I’m hoping that by the time I see this artwork again, I’ll have forgotten all I’ve written today.

P.S. These are simply my personal opinions, any corrections and discussions are welcomed.

References

[1] Violet-Orange from Guggenheim’s official page.
[2] Kandinsky’s artwork in high resolution
[3] Anoter Violet-Orange from WIKIART
[4] Color Theory reference
[5] From Kandinsky’s recall