The Iconology of Abstraction: Non-Figurative Images and the Modern World, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Iconology of Abstraction

Non-Figurative Images and the Modern World, 1st Edition

Edited by Krešimir Purgar


304 pages | 34 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367206048
pub: 2020-07-06
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This book uncovers how we make meaning of abstraction, both historically and in present times, and examines abstract images as a visual language.

The contributors will demonstrate that abstraction is not primarily an artistic phenomenon, but rather arose from human beings’ desire to imagine, understand, and communicate complex, ineffable concepts in fields ranging from fine art and philosophy to technologies of data visualisation, from cartography and medicine to astronomy.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in image studies, visual studies, art history, philosophy, and aesthetics.

Table of Contents


Should Abstract Images Have Their "own" Iconology?

Krešimir Purgar


1. Why Pictures are Signs? The Semiotics of (Non)Representational Pictures

Winfried Noth

Part 1: History and Theory of Abstraction

2. The Founding of Abstraction: Wilhelm Worringer and the Avant-Garde

Anselm Treichler

3. The Iconology of Malevich’s Suprematist Crosses

Marie Gaspter-Hulvat

4. Literality and Non-Referentiality in the Abstraction of Objecthood

Blaženka Perica

5. Representational Abstract Pictures

Regina-Nino Mion

6. What is Abstraction in Photography?

Diarmuid Costello

PART 2: Philosophy of Abstraction

7. Abstraction and Transperceptual Space

Paul Crowther

8. The Visualization of Temporality in the Abstract Paintings of Barnett Newman

Claude Cernuschi

9. Rethinking Abstraction Post-Phenomenologically: Michel Henry and Henri Maldiney

Bruno Lessard

PART 3: Redefining Abstraction—Analog vs. Digital

10. Visual Music and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde Synesthaesia to Digital Technestaesia

Michael Betancourt

11. Ecology and Climatology in Modern Abstract Art

Linn Burchert

12. Digital Abstraction: Interface between Electronic Media Art and Data Visualization

Birgit Mersmann

13. Towards a Transsensorial Technology of Abstraction (Ekstraction)

Clemens C. Finkelstein

14. Digital Landscapes of the Internet: Glitch Art, Vaporwave, Spectacular Cyberspace

Dario Vuger

PART 4: Abstraction in Science and Technology

15. The Material Site of Abstraction: Grid-based Data Visualisation in Brain Scans

Silvia Casini

16. Reference and Affect: Visual Abstraction in Computation and the Neurosciences

Michael Reinsborough

17. Reality Effect of (Abstract) Maps in Post-Digital Era

Ana Peraica


18. Visualizing the End of Visibility: M87* Event-Horizon Image

Yanai Toister

About the Editor

Krešimir Purgar is Associate Professor in the Academy of Arts and Culture at J. J. Strossmayer University, Croatia.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies

This series is our home for innovative research in the fields of art and visual studies. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into visual culture and art practice, theory, and research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / General
ART / Criticism & Theory
ART / History / General
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Digital
PHILOSOPHY / Aesthetics