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

Posts tagged hans richter

Absolute Film


Image: Hans Richter, stills from Rhythmus 21, 1921

The history of early abstract cinema culminated with a historic event: on May 3, 1925 the UFA Theatre in Berlin hosted a matinee screening, The Absolute Film, which was the first public showing of abstract films. The term “absolute” emphasized the films’ non-narrative quality and their focus on the elements, the “absolutes” of film language — surfaces, planes and shapes changing over time. Much of the impetus for these earliest abstract films came from painters who sought to put painting in motion, including Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling, and  Walter Ruttmann. In Inventing Abstraction, all the extant films from this performance play in sequence. 

Watch Hans Richter’s Rhythmus 21 and Rhythmus 23