Here are a list of quotes that I feel should be read in conjunction with the previous post, Image of the Night #15:
from: (Original Source): From the Kenneth Lindsay translation of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Uber die Formfrage,” Der Blaue Reiter (Munich: R. Piper, 1912), pp. 74-100.
My source: Chipp, Herschel Browning., Peter Howard Selz, and Joshua Charles Taylor. Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics. Berkeley: University of California, 1968. pp. 155-174. Print.
"Every creative artist's own means of expression (that is, form) is best since it most appropriately embodies that which he feels compelled to proclaim. From that, however, the conclusion is often falsely drawn that this means of expression is, or ought to be, the best for other artists also" (p 157).
"Necessity creates the form. Fish which live at great depths have no eyes, the elephant has a trunk. The chameleon changes its color, and so forth. Thus, the spirit of the individual artist is mirrored in the form" (p 157).
"[...] one shall consider valid every form, deem correct (= artistic) every form, which represents an inner content" (p 158).
"One should approach a work in such a way that the form has an effect on the soul. And through the form, the content (spirit, inner resonance). Otherwise one elevates the relative to the absolute" (p 158)
"[...] it is not most important whether the form is personal, national, or has style; whether or not it is in accordance with the major contemporary movements; whether or not it is related to many or few other forms; whether or not it stands completely by itself: but rather the most important thing in question of form is whether or not the form has grown out of the inner necessity" (p 158)*1
*1 That is, one may not make a uniform out of the form. Works of art are not soldiers. With a given artist, a given form can be the best at one time and the worst at another. In the first case, it has grown in the soil of the inner necessity; in a second–in the soil of outer necessity: out of ambition and greed. W.K.
"And so it is sufficient to say: everything is permitted" (p 160)
"For the 'understanding' of such pictures, the same liberation is necessary as in realism, that is, it must become possible, here too, to be able to hear the whole world just as it is without objective interpretation. And here these abstracted or abstract forms (lines, planes, spots, and so forth) are not important as such, but only their inner resonance, their life. Just as in realism, not the object itself or the outer shell are important, but rather its inner resonance, its life" (p 162).
"[...] the external effect can be a different one from the inner effect: the inner effect is caused by the inner resonance; and this is one of the most powerful and deepest means of expression in every composition" (p 163).
"the ideal critic, then, would not be the critic who would seek to discover the 'mistake,' 'abberations,' 'ignorance,' 'plagiarisms,' and so forth, but the one who would seek to feel how this or that form has an inner effect, and would then impart expressively his whole experience to the public" (p 165).
I'm going to stop there but I urge anyone whose interested by what Kandinsky writes to go out and find a copy of Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics Herschell B. Chipp.