• Abstraction and the Organization of Images: František Kupka and the Organization of Graphic Motifs

      Olson, Hope; Lussky, Joan (2008)
      František Kupka (1871-1957), a Czech painter who spent most of his career in France, one of the artists sometimes described as the father of abstract art, a sometime spirit medium and theosophist, also has a contribution to make to the organization of information. At a knowledge organization conference in Washington, DC some years ago I visited the National Gallery of Art and, rounding a corner, was confronted by Kupka's roughly six-by-six foot painting Organization of Graphic Motifs II. The painting along with its earlier and later variants epitomizes Kupka's interpretation of how images are organized in the creation of art. This paper will lay open Kupka's philosophy of art as it parallels or opposes some of the basic tenets of the organization of information with the Organization of Graphic Motifs cluster of works as an example. The proposed paper will elaborate on Kupka's philosophy of art, explore examples, consider the implications for representation of images/knowledge/information, and pose questions. In knowledge organization we typically presume that our goal is to represent reality as closely as possible. For Kupka there is a truth in representing a new, artist-constructed reality. Is the notion of a different reality and a representation that conflicts with "real" reality acceptable or anathema in the organization of images (or knowledge)? Are artists the only ones who can create representations in a new reality or can classifiers/indexers do so as well? How does this vision of representation contribute to inconsistency and subjectivity in the organization of images/knowledge/information?