The abstract and minimalist finds itself under attack from people who think it lacks detail and the intellect of its inventor to make something more complex out of it. Complexity, one might think, is the peak of human achievement, baroque therefore is worth so much more than cubism. The opposite, however, is true.

Picasso used to start off with a complex drawing, full of detail and then proceeded to strip it of everything superfluous until at last there was the most minimalist version of the initial picture still able to convey the exact emotions the original did – simple geometric forms representative of the entire painting in all of its complexity.

Of course, complexity is easier on the mind. With an abundance of information thrown at us, we do not see the need anymore to think of what may be missing from the picture, there is no room for questions. All our life information is being thrown at us, always subjective, always suggestive of a certain view of the world and it is through this grid that we look upon everything we see thereon after. With every new impression left on our mind the grid we apply to view the world is altered in a certain way, our eyes are a palimpsest.

The obvious objection to the idea I have just laid out is that this would make abstraction a rather elitist pastime, as only education and experience may enable the beholder to fill out the details of what is in front of him in a founded manner. I fear, however, that it is neither intelligence nor education which keeps such a great mass of people from wanting to understand abstraction and minimalism. The real cause of this shyness lies in the fact that having a white canvas in front of us forces us to project ourselves onto it. It is human nature: we abhor silence and emptiness, we disdain darkness.

The force of thought, when not subjected to distractions of any sort, is, however, so frightening to most of us that we would rather have our thoughts restrained and obscured by a myriad of details, a noise that muffles the clear voice of reason, for when one question is asked, many more follow. In this sense, we owe it to ourselves to accept the intellectual challenge of giving sense to something minimalist or abstract. Scarcity can be abundance, complexity a void.

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