Saturday, April 02, 2011
The German modernist Hans Richter (1888 - 1976) was a painter, graphic artist and experimental filmmaker.
He initially painted in a cubist style, but moved into film - being best known for his experiments in avantgarde cinema. He was also a founding member of the Dada movement.
He is quoted as saying:
"Influenced by cubism and its search for structure, but not satisfied with what it offered, I found myself between 1913-1918 increasingly faced with the conflict of suppressing spontaneous expression in order to gain an objective understanding of a fundamental principle with which I could control the ‘heap of fragments’ inherited from the cubists.
Thus I gradually lost interest in the subject – in any subject – and focused instead on the positive-negative (white-black) opposition, which at least gave me a working hypothesis whereby I could organize the relationship of one part of a painting to the other."
His film Rhythmus 21 is generally considered to be the first completely abstract film, and is now viewed as an avantgarde classic.
Suggested further reading: here, here and here for example.