Art Term

Concrete art

Concrete art is abstract art that is entirely free of any basis in observed reality and that has no symbolic meaning

Theo van Doesburg, ‘Counter-Composition VI’ 1925
Theo van Doesburg
Counter-Composition VI 1925
Tate

The term was introduced by artist Theo van Doesburg in his 1930 Manifesto of Concrete Art. The manifesto was published in the first and only issue of the magazine Art Concret. He stated that there was nothing more concrete or more real than a line, a colour, or a plane (a flat area of colour).

The Swiss artist Max Bill later became the flag bearer for concrete art organising the first international exhibition in Basle in 1944. He stated that the aim of concrete art is to create ‘in a visible and tangible form things which did not previously exist – to represent abstract thoughts in a sensuous and tangible form’.

There is a museum of constructive and concrete art in Zurich, Switzerland.

Related terms and concepts

Art Term

Constructivism

Constructivism was a particularly austere branch of abstract art founded by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko in Russia around 1915

Selected artworks in the collection