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
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Naum Gabo, ‘Construction in Space: Diagonal’ 1921–5, reassembled 1986
Naum Gabo
Construction in Space: Diagonal 1921–5, reassembled 1986
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The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2014
Kazimir Malevich, ‘Dynamic Suprematism’ 1915 or 1916
Kazimir Malevich
Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916
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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.