Saturday, 27 March 2010

Abstract Cinema 3: Hans Richter

Hans Richter is still an important chronicler of the Dada movement. His first-hand account of Dada, Dada: Art and Anti Art still stands today as an important document despite it’s the silly and appalling treatment of Hannah Höch. It’s a book that still appears on many a reading list in art schools today.

Hans Richter’s Rythmus 21 is an important early abstract film. It sometimes, quite wrongly apparently, referred to as the first abstract film.

According to Esther Leslie, Richter’s “abstract films were conceived as a light-play of positive and negative” (Leslie, 2002p.37). Leslie compares Richter to Malevich in his aim to “reduce form to its simplest element”, which Richter claimed “to be the rectangle or square” (p.37). However, she points out that unlike Malevich and others, there was no “assumed metaphysical importance” to these elements (p.37).


Leslie, E., (2002) Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde, London and New York: Verso.

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