Whilst his own abstract art of this period re-enforced the ideas expounded within Point and Line to plane, published in 1926, the theories which he had propounded in his earlier iconic manifesto, On the Spiritual in Art of 1911, came increasingly to the fore of his creative production during the Bauhaus years. Kandinsky believed that every colour was endowed with its own symbolic sound and meaning, and that form and colour were inextricably connected. The artist considered red to be a particularly powerful colour, with every permutation of the shade endowed with different meanings and associations. The graduating shades of red employed within Versunken are thus imbued with a range of meanings and musical associations, with vermilion representing the tones of a tuba, whilst madder red—which dominates the present composition—suggests the higher registers of the violin.
Kandinsky also became increasingly engaged with the creative and philosophical possibilities of the circle during this time, a fascination which is revealed within the present work through the focus on this shape as the central locus of the composition. Kandinsky declared that: ‘If I have… in recent years so frequently and so enthusiastically made use of the circle, the reason (or the cause) is not the ‘geometrical’ form of the circle, or its geometrical characteristic, but rather my own extreme sensitivity to the inner force of the circle in all its countless variations’ (quoted in: Ulrike Becks-Malorny, Kandinsky, Cologne, 2003, p. 157).
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