Shortly after my interest in minimalism was sparked, I started searching for common denominators and began gathering definitions and statements. Here’s the list I kept.
Please note: These are loose thoughts. Many of these are wrong, or half-truths, or not truths at all. I’ve just been trying to find the edges of minimalism.
What is minimalism?
- Minimalism is… a school of abstract painting and sculpture that emphasizes extreme simplification of form, as by the use of basic shapes and monochromatic palettes of primary colors, objectivity, and anonymity of style. Also called ABC art, minimal art, reductivism, rejective art (source).
- Minimalism is… use of the fewest and barest essentials or elements, as in the arts, literature, or design (source).
- Minimalism is… designing the minimum?
- Minimalism is… addition by subtraction?
- Minimalism is… a design style that emphasizes simplicity and the removal of superfluous elements in one’s own work (source)
- Minimalism is… the simplest expression of a concept?
- Minimalism is… to live life to the min?
- Minimalism is… ‘excess denied’?
- Minimalism is… a twentieth century art movement and style stressing the idea of reducing a work of art to the minimum number of colors, values, shapes, lines and textures. No attempt is made to represent or symbolize any other object or experience. It is sometimes called ABC art, minimal art, reductivism, and rejective art. (source)
- Minimalism is… a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity (source)
- Minimalism is… a numbers game?
- Minimalism is… form over function?
- Minimalism is… just designer speak for laziness (source)
- Minimalism is… a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements (source)
- Minimalism is… an artistic movement which sets out to expose the essence or essentials of a subject by minimizing the variation in form, the number of features, and the use of subjective concepts?
- Minimalism is … an artistic movement which sets out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts? (source)
- Minimalism is… the simple expression of complex thought? (a description of his work which Donald Judd preferred over ‘minimalist’) (source)
- Minimalism is… when the minimum is the maximum?
- Minimalism is… the art of appreciating the essential (source)
- Minimalism is… design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect (source)
- Minimalism is… a style in which a small number of very simple things are used to create a particular effect (source)
- Minimalism is… design that has no other agenda than to be itself?
- Minimalism is… just a another word for sensory deprivation?
- Minimalism is… an art movement in sculpture and painting that began in the 1950s and emphasized extreme simplification of form and color (source)
- Minimalism is… soul searching?
- Minimalism is… the act of purifying design?
- The minimum is… the perfection that an artefact achieves when it can no longer be improved by subtraction (source)
- Minimalism is… featureless form?
- Minimalisme is… de kunst van het weglaten?
- Minimalism is… a movement in art, dance, music, etc., beginning in the 1960s, in which only the simplest design, structure, forms, etc. are used, often repetitiously, and the artist’s individuality is minimized (source)
- Minimalism is… as little form as possible?
- Minimalist is… often applied colloquially to designate anything which is spare or stripped to its essentials (source)
- Minimalism is… 100% signal, 0% noise?
- Minimalism is… a method to bring about a sense of purity and clarity, for those who appreciate that?
- Minimalism is… the beauty of the simplest form?
- Minimalism is… ‘intentionally left blank’?
- Minimalism is… silence in design?
- Minimalism is… the beauty of truth?
- Minimalism is… for minimalists?
Eventually, I would define minimalism as the concept of minimizing distractions from what’s truly valuable or essential.