Saturday, 27 March 2010

Abstract Cinema 2: Viking Eggeling (1880-1925)

Eggeling was an early contributor to the Dada movement. In collaboration with Hans Richter he worked on abstract picture scrolls. The works are notable shift in (Zurich) Dada’s aesthetics away from Expressionism towards Constructivism. Although it can be argued that historically “the impetus for the production of the first abstract film seems to come from music and paintings rather than cinematography” stimulated by the “Blaue Reiter almanac’s call for a theory of painting” (Lynton, 2003, p. 119).

Eggeling was concerned with “‘rhythm in painting’ through all the possible permutations of certain linear and spatial relationships” (Kostelanetz, R., 2001, p. 189): “a general concern for line and surface” (Michaud, 1996, p.23). Above is the classic Diagonal Symphony from 1924, in which Eggeling produced more than a thousand drawings on his own.


Kostelanetz, R., (2001) Dictionary of Avant-gardes 2nd Edition, New York and London: Routledge.

Lynton, N., (2003) The Story of Modern Art, London and New York: Phaidon.

Michaud, Philippe-Alain, (1961) “The Haunting of the Subject on Dada Cinema”, in (2005) Dada Cinema, Paris: Re: Voir Video.

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