Word for Wednesday: Abstract

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Yesterday, Google’s doodle celebrated Wassilly Kandinsky’s 148th birthday and credited him as the first ‘truly abstract painter’. Kandinsky was famous for his compositional style of painting and he often compared his process to that of writing music.

What does the word abstract mean?

To paraphrase Google’s definition, abstract refers to something that exists as a thought or idea but lacks a physical or concrete existence.

In the Art world, and abstract work seeks to communicate with the audience without attempting to represent reality.

Does the very act of creating a physical work not bring the ‘abstract’ idea into existence?

The word abstract has a handful of different meanings and applications:

  • You can ‘abstract’ a text, this means to create a summary of its content.
  • You can ‘abstract’ one thing from another, which means to consider it in isolation.
  • When something is abstract it is focused on ideas and feelings rather than events or objects.


17 Dec 2014
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