The Inner Neccessity Dialectic and the Desert of Irrational Space
Christopher Lawrie and Kazimir Malevich
Kandinsky’s creation of purely abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences. He called this devotion to inner beauty, fervour of spirit, and spiritual desire, inner necessity. It was a central aspect of his art.
Inner necessity originates from three elements: (1) Every artist, as a creator, has something in him which demands expression (this is the element of personality). (2) Every artist, as the child of his time, is impelled to express the spirit of his age (this is the element of style)—dictated by the period and particular country to which the artist belongs (it is doubtful how long the latter distinction will continue). (3) Every artist, as a servant of art, has to help the cause of art (this is the quintessence of art, which is constant in all ages and among all nationalities). Wassily Kandinsky, The Doctrine of Internal Necessity
To the New Suprematist, whatever the precise details of their own inner neccessity or it's proximity to those expressed by Kandinsky, it is always going to be manifested as a dilemma or a set of conflicting opposites, the ultimate paradox. This dilemma is, of course a reaction to the logical impossibility of our own existance. It is in the contemplation of, or the spiritual or sensory perception of the paradox that will determine the effectiveness and worth of the arwork in it’s material form. As it is obviously a dilemma that can never be realistically, logically reconciled, it is this spiritual desert( a term used by Malevich) that contains the essence of the successful artwork. This is by no means an empty desert but can be seen rather as an irrational space. Real or unreal is no longer relevant.
For the New Suprematist, the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless. The significant thing is the Inner Neccessity Dialectic, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth. This environment is potentialy transformed from rational to irrational space.
The so called ‘materialization’ of the Inner Neccessity Dialectic, in the conscious mind really means a materialization of the reflection of that Inner Neccessity Dialectic, through the medium of some realistic conception. Such a realistic conception is without value in New Suprematist art. And not only in New Suprematist art but in art generally, because the enduring, true value of a work of art (to whatever school it may belong) resides solely in the Inner Neccessity Dialectic, expressed.
An objective representation, having objectivity as its aim, is something which, as such, has nothing to do with art, and yet the use of objective forms in an art work does not preclude the possibility of its being of high artistic value.
Hence, to the New Suprematist, the appropriate means of representation is always the one which gives fullest possible expression to the Inner Neccessity Dialectic as such and which ignores the familiar appearance of objects.
Objectivity, in itself, is meaningless to him, the concepts of the conscious mind only provide the fertile soil. The Inner Neccessity Dialectic is the determining factor . . . and thus art arrives at non objective representation at New Suprematism.
It reaches a ‘desert of irrational space’ in which nothing can be perceived but the Inner Neccessity Dialectic.
Everything which determined the objective ideal structure of life and of‘art’, ideas, concepts and images, all this the artist has cast aside in order to heed pure Inner Neccessity Dialectic.
The art of the past which stood, at least ostensibly, in the service of religion and the state, will take on new life in the pure (unapplied) art of New Suprematism, which will build up a new world. The world of the Inner Neccessity Dialectic.
Balance 1 Christopher Lawrie 1974
The ascent to the heights of nonobjective art is arduous and painful . . . but it is nevertheless rewarding. The familiar recedes ever further and further into the background . . . the contours of the objective world fade more and more and so it goes, step by step, until finally the world‘everything we loved and by which we have lived’ becomes lost to sight.
No more ‘likenesses of reality,’ no idealistic images, nothing but a desert of irrational space. But this desert is filled with the spirit of nonobjective sensation which pervades everything.
The Irrational Space
The general public is still convinced today that art is bound to perish if it gives up the imitation of ‘dearly loved reality’ and so it observes with dismay how the hated element of pure Inner Neccessity Dialectic abstraction makes more and more headway.
Art no longer cares to serve the state and religion, it no longer wishes to illustrate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such, and believes that it can exist, in and for itself, without ‘things’ (that is, the ‘time tested well spring of life’).
But the nature and meaning of artistic creation continue to be misunderstood, as does the nature of creative work in general, because the Inner Neccessity Dialectic, after all, is always and everywhere the one and only source of every creation.
The Inner Neccessity Dialectic which is kindled in the human being is stronger than the human being him/herself. It must at all costs find an outlet. It must take on an overt form. It must be communicated or put to work. And where better to flourish than within the irrational space.
An imperative of the taking possession of a designated space or object in order to complete its transformation from a purely utilitarian entity to a work of Art is the labeling or naming of that space or object.
So it is an important part of the process of New Suprematist artworks that they be named by the placing of identity cards on the approprate wall of the Art gallery or Museum in which they now exist.
The New Constructivists have deliberately given up objective representation of their surroundings in order to reach the summit of the true ‘unmasked’ art and from this vantage point to view life through the prism of pure Inner Neccessity Dialectic within the irrational space.
Nothing in the objective world is as ‘secure and unshakeable’ as it appears to our conscious minds. We should accept nothing as predetermined or as constituted for eternity. Every ‘firmly established,’ familiar thing can be shifted about and brought under a new and, primarily, unfamiliar order. Why then should it not be possible to bring about an artistic order?
The Real and the Unreal
The application of the Inner Neccessity Dialectic to a chosen space changes and creates new forms, the elements of which can be classified in one way or another depending upon the intention that gave rise to them.
When we examine a vestibule, we are no longer interested in the fitness of its construction to perform its technical task in the building but recognize in it the material expression of a pure Inner Neccessity Dialectic. We no longer see in it a structural necessity but view it as a work of art in its own right.
Our life is a theater piece, in which nonobjective Inner Neccessity Dialectic is portrayed by objective imagery.
The New Suprematism has opened up new possibilities to creative art, since by virtue of the abandonment of so called ‘practical consideration,’ the Inner Neccessity Dialectic rendered on canvas can now be carried over into space. The artist is no longer bound to the canvas (the picture plane) and can transfer his compositions from canvas, or the material world, to rational or, more importantly, irrational space.
It does not dawn on the public that it fails to recognize the real, true value of things. This is also the reason for the chronic failure of everything utilitarian. A true, absolute order in human society could only be achieved if mankind were willing to base this order on lasting values. Obviously, then, the artistic factor would have to be accepted in every respect as the decisive one. As long as this is not the case, the uncertainty of a ‘provisional order’ will obtain, instead of the longed for tranquillity of an absolute order, because the provisional order is gauged by current utilitarian understanding and this measuring stick is variable in the highest degree.
In the light of this, all art works which, at present, are a part of ‘practical life’ or to which practical life has laid claim, are in some senses devaluated.
Only when they are freed from the encumbrance of practical utility (that is, when they are placed in museums, or claimed by the New Suprematist Artist) will their truly artistic, absolute value be recognized.