On line, variations on the line

In the history of abstract art in the twentieth century the idea of the line has been determinative. The master of abstraction, Vassily Kandinsky, considered the line as the product of a force: a straight line was the result of a unique force applied in one direction. While the subjective effect produced by a line depends on its orientation (horizontal or vertical), a force acting unobstructed, such as the one which produces a straight line, corresponds to a lyrical form, whereas several opposing and contradictory forces constitute a drama.

If the line can produce such an effect, all we need to do is to give in to the stories that it conjures up in our unconscious. Since line is not subject to a simple static approach, but is defined by its very dynamic, it brings to life rhythms, tensions, or yet silences. Throughout the twentieth century, the line has also been an essential motif in research relating to music and dance.

Its trajectory is pure gesture, where the line is not only a movement across space but also a temporal development. Without beginning or end: it runs towards infinity. It traces the divisions and boundaries even while having the power to bind them, to tie them together.

On line, Drawing through the twentieth century, Moma, 2010

Enter parcour