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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 3, September 2020

Josef Novák
Pages 287-306

Abstract Painting
Some Remarks on its Affiliation with Phenomenology

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, abstract art has formed a central stream of modern art. To attain purely aesthetic goals, many avant-garde artists turned painting in particular into a pursuit of breaking off the relations with natural forms. Instead of copying them, they have merely relied on their inner visions. When externalizing these visions directly on the canvas or sheets of paper, the practitioners of abstract art have inadvertently used the phenomenological method and its epoché. In this essay I argue that the philosophies of Kupka and Husserl are largely compatible. This is not because the two use the same terminology, but because they virtually mean and do the same thing in their respective fields. Even where there are significant differences between them, these are not as great as it might at first seem. In the essay’s conclusion I sum up some of the most significant implications their compatible theories have for the philosophy of art and for various theories of art today.

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