Kandinskij, knight errant. The journey towards abstraction
edited by Silvia Burini and Ada Masoero

Mudec pays homage to Wassily Kandinsky with an original “site-specific” exhibition, based around his vocation and the relationship between art and science and on the metaphor of travel as a cognitive adventure. All these aspects were experimented with by the founder of abstract art who always showed an interest in a scientific approach to reality, exploration and travel as a leitmotif of his own existence.

In him, a Muscovite by birth, the Russian and German genes of his parents mix together along with those of his ancestors, from Eastern Siberia. Born into a cultured family, he followed classical studies and at an early age began taking lessons in piano, ‘cello and drawing. At University he studied law, but he had a passionate interest in ethnography, in search of his own cultural roots. In 1889 he had a life-changing experience: he spent over one month in the Vologda Governorate, in Northern Russia, studying the beliefs and criminal law of the Komi and Zyrian peoples. He collected and published popular songs, made drawings and kept a travel diary. In those villages, he had a revelation: «In their izbas I came across this miracle for the first time, which later became one of the elements of my work. Here I first learned not to a look at a picture from the outside, but to turn around it, to get inside it. When I entered the room, the painting surrounded me, and I entered into it».

The exhibition – which displays his works from the most important Russian museums, some never seen before in Italy, alongside examples of popular culture that inspired him- traces the long formative period of the artist’s visual imagination, up to 1921, when he moved to Germany never to return to Russia. The aim is to allow the spectator, also with the help of specific multimedia aids, to understand the origin and development of his symbolic code, in a fascinating journey through his visual sources. The visitor can “enter” into his abstract paintings and navigate through them. Exactly as he wanted, writing «for years I tried to get spectators to walk inside my paintings: I wanted to force them to lose themselves, even to disappear inside».


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