Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925 is on view through April 15, 2013 at The Museum of Modern Art. Find out more at MoMA.org/inventingabstraction.


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One of the pioneers of abstract cinema, the Swediish artist Viking Eggeling made a group of thirty abstract drawings in 1919-20 in preparation for his film Symphonie Diagonale (Diagonal Symphony). They trace a sequence of abstract shapes that appear from, morph and dissolve back into the white background of the page. Eggeling used these drawings to develop his cinematic animation. Each drawing has two little pinholes at the top corners, as the artist pinned them to the wall experimenting with their sequential effect on paper before creating it on film. In 1921-4 Eggeling made his only realized film Symphonie diagonale, photographing drawings one frame at a time and making drawn forms disappear by incrementally masking them with large sheets of tinfoil. These drawings are shown together in Inventing Abstraction next to the film itself. 

Look at all 30 drawings in sequence

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