Art Informel

The artists associated with Art Informel are sometimes called the international equivalents of the Abstract Expressionists. Coming to prominence in the years following World War II, they rejected pre-War art logic and made paintings from improvisation and experimentation. But unlike Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel wasn’t so much an art movement as it was an umbrella term for a number of loosely related art movements, all of which had one thing in common: the rejection of reason in favor of intuition.

Lyrical Abstraction sits underneath this umbrella term Art Informel.

[The] common attitude among artists at the time [was] that historical logic is what had gotten the world into its tragic mess and that everything had to change. Many embarked on a quest for something deeper than logic that could guide their art. Seeking something to which all humans could relate they abandoned form. They abandoned planning. For the first time in art history, rather than beginning with an idea and then finishing with a painting, painters simply began painting, guided by instinct, letting their gestures, mediums and subconscious feelings guide their creations. Only when their works were finished did they venture to assign them meaning.

In the US this thinking rose to be Abstract Expressionism. In Europe there developed a few different groups of which Art Informel is the umbrella term. The most famous group under the Art Informel umbrella is ‘Tachism’ which is the European equivalent of Abstract Expressionism.

The unifying, driving force that guided all participants in Art Informel was what the Surrealists called automatism: actions without conscious premeditation… Perhaps this way of making art helped the entire culture to re-imagine civilization through a return to primitivism… [The] most consequential about Art Informal was its aspect of improvisation. It was pure personal expression. It elevated the importance of the individual artist. It valued self-discovery, and encouraged viewers to interpret the work, offering them a chance to discover themselves as well.

Art Informel were so intimately connected to the inner psychological workings of the individual artists who made them, they can be seen as truly humanistic. They elevate the precious nature of the individual above all else. After decades of so-called civilization doing everything in its power to make individuals feel worthless except as bullet sponges, workers, corpses and tools, the artists of Art Informel reversed the tide, returning individual creative dignity to a world in desperate need.

What is it that makes my paintings new, modern, contemporary? The rise of secularisation? The decreasing wild spaces in Britain? The personal benefits one can get from being in nature? Is this about how I frame my work or the work itself or both?

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