A compilation of esoteric musings, Kandinsky: Incarnating Beauty explores Alexandre Kojève’s philosophical approach to the relationship between art and beauty.
A teacher to Jacques Lacan, André Breton, and Albert Camus, Kojève defined art as the act of extracting the beautiful from objective reality. His poetic text, “The Concrete Paintings of Kandinsky,” endorses nonrepresentational art as uniquely manifesting beauty. Taking the paintings of his renowned uncle, Wassily Kandinsky, as his inspiration, Kojève suggests that in creating (rather than replicating) beauty, the paintings are themselves complete universes as concrete as the natural world. Kojève’s text considers the utility and necessity of beauty in life, and ultimately poses the involuted question: What is beauty?
Including personal letters between Kandinsky and his nephew, this book further elaborates the unique relationship between artist and philosopher. An introduction by Boris Groys contextualizes Kojève’s life and writings.