Movements: Research 1

Dialogue Studio, Movements

This project focuses on design history and movements. The deliverables will be a folded A2-A5 16 pager describing my exploration of chosen movement, and a motion graphic outcome. Starting off, I looked into 3 different movements I find interesting and chose De Stijl, Zero and The Washington Colour School.

De Stijl: Around 1917-1931 as a reaction to WWI, a group of Dutch artists set out to remake the world through a utopian vision and harmony and order. Exploring the ideal fusion of form and function, they wanted to eliminate all representational components, reducing painting to its elements: straight lines, plane surfaces, rectangles, and the primary colours red, yellow, blue, black and white. 

de stijl movement

De Stijl

The most famous artist for this time is unquestionably Piet Mondrian, who’s style came to represent the whole movement. De Stijl is very very abstract, with influences from cubism but stricter in form of geometry. The art was supposed to show a representation of relationships rather than actual physical forms. It is like cubism without the shading. De Stijl is very flat and bright, wanting to express and capture the redness of red and the blueness of blue.

Zero: Zero is a movement I had never heard of before looking into this. Consisting of a group of German artists post WWII, they called themselves zero as it represented historical and artistic beginnings and an emancipation from traditional genres and principles of art. The movement focused on light, space and movement and came about in the late 1950’s.

zero movement


Important materials were glass, aluminium and paper and as a post war movement they were inspired by the spirit of change and an ideology that was brighter than their surroundings. Very avant garde and includes performance pieces. Important figures were Heinz Mack who did lots of sculptural work with metal and played with optical illusions and Otto Piene who explored kinetic light art and how something reacts with a space.

Washington Colour School: My third chosen movement is all about colour, abstraction and minimalism. Coming about in the late 1950’s through 1960 in Washington DC, it was a response to the abstract expressionism of the New York school. The movement challenged the connotations of art and wanted to return art to its purest form with a focus on light and form.

washington colour school movement

Washington Colour School

The colours used were bright and the shapes consisted mostly of lines and circles and important figures were Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Gene Davis who is my personal favourite, creating paintings consisting of only lines stressing the optical effects created by the interrelationships of various colours and also explored painting along with sculpture and painted on the street.

All of my movements have some similar characteristics; they are all reactions to the end of war, how art was constructed and viewed at that time, and they all explore geometry, lines, circles, abstraction and light.


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