Abstraction and Surrealism
Let us suppose one is looking at a work of art. And let us imagine it is an oil painting;
in it you can see a child with a limp and dying bird in its hands. When we look at this,
we see two aspects: Firstly, the descriptive or physical aspect of the child, the bird,
and other anecdotal details and secondly, their arrangement within the painting,
which is that, which makes it a work of art as a unity of different elements, the
As he or she perceives this arrangement, the viewer receives an impulse in the brain, in the part where the mind
processes emotions: and the person gets emotional. This is the aesthetic emotion, which is different to other
emotions such as anger and sadness.
On the other hand, quite independently, even when an event has generated the second aspect, the significant
immanence, we can notice that the mental analysis of the descriptive aspect, in other words what would happen
in a hypothetical situation, as in this example with the child, generates in humans the need to make a judgement.
The description of an event such as a child with a limp and dying bird can induce, in some people, other emotions
completely unrelated to the aesthetic one, for example, sadness.
So clearly we can conclude that a work of art can generate two or more types of emotions that are not related,
not just because it is a work of art, but because the arrangement invokes or correlates with a hypothetical
This phenomenon was discovered intuitively by artists of the 19th century (especially Vassily Kandinsky) who
came from schools that had conceived of art as "representative" or "realist" and who reoriented themselves
towards an abstract one, in which they tried to prove that the realistic representation of the existence of an
event was absolutely superfluous.
Plato, in earlier times, believed that art was a mathematical transformation from reality, from the physical
domain to another domain, which was painting or sculpture.
Kandinsky demonstrated that the reality was not necessary, and in turn showed that the coherence of the
well-designed arrangement is that which produces the aesthetic pleasure. And this is, in other words, my
concept of immanence significant.
Something similar happened with the Surrealists. They argued that the parts of a work of art are not
connected according to Aristotelian logic by which real things are connected to each other in the real
world. A watch must be on the wrist, in order to easily see the time.
But in an oil painting, is there a reason to assume this premise that works so well in the real world?
So in a work of art, a watch hung on the branch of a tree is also valid. But what can we ask of an object
within a work of art? We ask that it belongs within an arrangement so that we can perceive a significant
immanence for all the parts of the work within the composition.
In the domain of the work of art, things have their own way of making a logical connection: its parts have
to be arranged as living beings within their environment, that is, they have to be adapted, dare I say,
they must have a common becoming, as Deleuze and Gattari conceived this idea in their book "A Thousand
This coherence is a world in itself. It has its own laws of being and it is created as it is.
It is a domain different from the physical things that we know, which is why that within any given
arrangement, we can get an "inverse transformation" and represent what happens there, from an assumption
about something that happens here. By acting in this way, what has been intuited here can lead, by a
simple cognitive impulse, to make a judgement about a hypothetical physical fact, but the emotion that
will emerge this time will be different to that which arises from intuiting the synthetic unification.
It is also logical to assume that an abstract work of art cannot generate a different emotion within the
real world, because the work of abstract art does not have a correlated reality that can be transformed
into the physical world.