Focusing on Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) the exhibition explores trends towards abstraction in art around 1910, presenting around 100 prints, drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings. A comprehensive selection of Kandinsky‘s printed works from private collections showcases his “discovery” of abstraction. The important role of the woodcuts executed between 1902 and 1912 cannot be valued high enough for Kandinsky’s idea of “the spiritual in art” and the creative process of his abstraction.

The reductive printing technique enabled him to produce strongly simplified flat forms which can also evoke suggestive color resonances. The ideas of the Blue Rider and Kandinsky’s concept of an art that is freed from the limitations of mimesis, following only an “inner necessity,” were developed in dialogue with Gabriele Münter and Franz Marc. The search for formal simplification and abstraction were major concerns of the artistic avantgarde as shown by a small selection of modernist works.

The show is conceived in conjunction with the exhibition Visionary Spaces. Kandinsky, Mondrian, Lissitzky and the Abstract-Constructivist Avant-Garde in Dresden 1919–1932, providing the background for this later period. At the same time a complementary display of photographs by the celebrated Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto (* 1948) from the Hoffmann Collection takes the theme of abstraction into the present. Across time and cultures, these minimalistic-abstract photographs enter into a dialogue with Kandinsky’s works.