“LINE AND FISH
Approaching it in one way I see no essential difference between a line one calls ‘abstract’ and a fish.
But an essential likeness.
This isolated line and the isolated fish alike are living beings with forces peculiar to them, though latent. They are forces of expression for these beings and of impression on human beings. Because each being has an impressive ‘look’ which manifests itself by its expression.
But the voice of these latent forces is faint and limited. It is the environment of the line and the fish that brings about a miracle: the latent forces awaken, the expression becomes radiant, the impression profound. Instead of a low voice one hears a choir. The latent forces have become dynamic.
The environment is the composition.
The composition is the organised sum of the interior functions (expressions) of every part of the work.
But approaching it in another way there is an essential difference between a line and a fish.
And that is that the fish can swim, eat and be eaten. It has then capacities of which the line is deprived.
These capacities of the fish are necessary extras for the fish itself and for the kitchen, but not for painting. And so not being necessary, they are superfluous.
That is why I like the line better than the fish—at least in my painting.”
[KANDINSKY, Wassily: “Line and Fish”, Axis, 2, 1935]