Art Term

Non-objective art

Non-objective art defines a type of abstract art that is usually, but not always, geometric and aims to convey a sense of simplicity and purity

Wassily Kandinsky, ‘Swinging’ 1925
Wassily Kandinsky
Swinging 1925
Naum Gabo, ‘Construction in Space: Diagonal’ 1921–5, reassembled 1986
Naum Gabo
Construction in Space: Diagonal 1921–5, reassembled 1986
The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2017
Kazimir Malevich, ‘Dynamic Suprematism’ 1915 or 1916
Kazimir Malevich
Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916

The Russian constructivist painters Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich and the sculptor Naum Gabo were pioneers of non-objective art. It and was inspired by the Greek philosopher Plato who believed that geometry was the highest form of beauty.

Non-objective art may attempt to visualise the spiritual and can be seen as carrying a moral dimension, standing for virtues like purity and simplicity. In the 1960s a group of American artists, including Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, embraced the philosophy of non-objective art. By creating highly simplified geometric art out of industrial materials they elevated these to an aesthetic level. Their work became known as minimal art.