Abstraction in Film

Hans Richter, film frames from Rhythmus 21, 1921.
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Film was a celebrated form of avant-garde expression because, like photography, it depends on mechanical devices and, moreover, because it is able to simulate motion.

Some of the earliest forays into abstract filmmaking were made by Dada artist Hans Richter, whose animated works, such as Rhythmus 21 (1921), consist of the interplay among geometric forms arranged according to the laws of chance. The impetus for Richter's film works derived from a series of experiments called scroll pictures, variations on formal themes drawn in pencil on long rolls of paper, which he created with Viking Eggeling. In large part, it was Richter's interest in orchestrating time and motion in a manner similar to the manipulation of form in painting and drawing that took him from such experiments in drawing to his investigation of filmmaking.

Abstraction in the Twentieth Century

Total Risk, Freedom, Discpline

The Pioneers

Between the Wars

Abstract Expressionism

Monochrome Painting

Minimal Sculpture

Post-Minimal Sculpture

The Museum of Non-Objective Painting

Abstraction in: