About Minimal Art

When I think about the origin of minimal art, I cannot help but imagine Brancusi’s sculpture and Malevich’s square painting.

Brancusi was the sculptor who moved from half-abstractionism to total abstractionism and Malevich created paintings resonating with energy during a revolutionary period.

Because minimal art was based on the anti-emotional intellectual aesthetic during the process by which materialistic civilization maturing further into a stable society in the late 20th century, it was naturally different from the works by creators in the early 20th century.

What was the origin of minimal art? I think that minimal art came from a sculpture titled Here I by Barnett Newman in 1950 and his paintings.

I have the impression that minimal art significantly jumped from there to Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Walter de Maria. It was, so to speak, a jump from individualism to holism, but a large space remained in between. Tony Smith, Richard Serra and Ulrich Rueckriem produced great performances in this area and Sol LeWitt and Dan Flavin are also active. Robert Smithson and Richard Long are closely related here, too.

What is minimal painting? How is minimal painting which is paintings without any remnants of the painters’ technique and different from geometric abstraction?

There are still many untouched aspects in this area that involve huge possibilities.

Quite a few artists’ works tend to have the style of minimal art, if you see it as a tendency toward simplification and reduction while setting aside the sense of minimal expression.

In this context, minimal tendency can mean the hidden current of art in the latter 20th century, and the advent of minimal art is its natural course. It coincides with the general flow of modern life.

I am very interested in the diversity of minimal art.

Eizo Nishio, January 2017

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