Ex20/20 a new movement in art
JAAPH - August/September 2019

What is this about?
Expressionism Twentytwenty (XP20/20) is a neo movement in art. We depict not objective reality, but our subjective emotions and responses. XP20/20 continues from expressionists of the 1910s to the 1930s and movements like 'CoBrA' and the 'Neue Wilde'.

Key phrases:
- Emotion
- Unconscious mind
- Vivid palette
- Manual touch
- Big story

The XP20/20 Behance Team
Behance is an opportunity for world wide groups to support and stimulate each other. Human history evolves towards worldwide culture. Earlier expressionist groups were linked to geographical areas. The 'Blaue Reiter' was in Munich. Abstract expressionists were in New York. CoBrA literally derived its name from cities: Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam. Through the web we can now have a worldwide expressionist group. 

Expressionism in history
Expressionism is a style of painting where 'the artist attempts to depict not objective reality, but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in them'.

I have always been drawn to expressionism. One day, for instance, I was visiting a museum in Rotterdam. I turned a corner and my breathing stopped. I saw this painting by Max Beckmann.
Original Figurative Expressionism
Max Beckmann, Portrait of the Lütjens family, 1944
Beckmann had fled to the Netherlands in 1937, after the Nazis condemned his work as degenerate ('entartete Kunst'). His anchor and refuge in Amsterdam was Helmuth Lütjens, depicted here with his family. 

Mechanisms of expressionism
The expressionist artist substitutes to the visual object reality their own image of the object. The search for harmony and forms is not as important as trying to achieve the highest expression intensity. They usually accomplish this through five mechanisms:
- Distortion
- Exaggeration
- Primitivism
- Fantasy 
- Vivid colors.

Germany in the twenties
What we may now call ‘Figurative expressionism' bloomed in Germany, in the 1910's to the early 30's. Objects like landscapes, animals, people and so on - even though distorted - are still recognisable. Some forms are distorted, exaggerated and put into fantasy combinations, but they can still have a ‘classical’ look. Some well known German expressionists are Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde.
​​​​​​​ This movement had two main groups 'Der Blaue Reiter' ('The Blue Rider') and 'Die Brucke' ('The Bridge').
Original Figurative Expressionism
Max Beckmann; Journey of the Fish; 1933
Original Figurative Expressionism
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; Winter Landscape in Moonlight; 1919; oil on canvas; 128 × 127 cm
Abstract expressionism
In the forties, the first expressionist movement of the '10s to 30's was followed by ‘Abstract expressionism’. The geographical centre was New York City. Abstract expressionists wanted to make art that, while abstract, was also expressive or emotional in its effect. They were inspired by the idea that art should come from the unconscious mind. Well known abstract expressionists are Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

For more on expressionism see Tate: art and artists​​​​​​​
Abstract Expressionism
Jackson Pollock; Convergence; 1952
Abstract Expressionism
Mark Rothko; Orange and Yellow; 1956; oil on canvas

Two more expressionist movements: CoBrA and the Neue Wilde
The original ‘figurative’ expressionists and the abstract expressionists were followed by two more expressionist movements: CoBrA (in the fifties). They had Karel Appel and Carl-Henning Pedersen as important protagonists. We can call this movement 'Abstracted-Folkloric Expressionism'.

The Neue Wilde emerged in the eighties, with Rainer Fetting and
Helmut Middendorf as important representants. They are a modern variant of the original German expressionism of the '20s and '30s. 
Karel Appel; La Fleur et les oiseaux (The Flower and the Birds); 1951; 73 x 92 cm.
Carl-Henning Pedersen
, Fairytale picture, 1943, Oil on canvas.
Neue Wilde
Rainer Fetting; Crazy Face; 1984; Oil on canvas; 162 x 153 cm
Neue Wilde
Helmut Middendorf, Elektrische Nacht, 1979 
And now: XP20/20 – Expressionism Twentytwenty
Today we have a new expressionist movement, called ‘Expressionism Twentytwenty’.

What is it? 
Twentytwenty refers to:
- The year 2020. 
- The link between the nineteen 20’s when the German expressionists like Beckmann came up and the two-thousand 20’s, which is our time. 
- A little pun on 20/20 vision (optically perfect vision). As a symbol for the desire to 'achieve the highest expression intensity'.

Characteristics of XP20/20
Expressionism Twenty Twenty has five characteristics.

1. Emotion
Striving for the most intense emotional expression. This is achieved through the classical means found in all expressionisms: a. distortion, b. exaggeration and c. a vivid color palette. With this characteristic, XP20/20 is building on the original expressionists from the ’20s and ’30s.

2. Unconscious processing
Striving to express images coming – at least partly – from the unconscious mind. Twentytwenty considers the unconscious impulses as a necessary influence, but not a dictate. The ideal is a perfect cooperation between conscious and unconscious processes. With this characteristic, XP20/20 is building on the abstract expressionists from the ’40s to the ’70s.

3. Manual touch
Parts of the painting may (or may not) be created with a computer, but some part is always done by hand, safeguarding a direct link with the unconscious mind. With this characteristic, XP20/20 is building on the Neue Wilde from the ’80s.

4.Tone over colour
If recognizable objects are depicted (which is not always the case, given that there is also abstract expressionism in 20/20), colours will be substituted freely by other colours, but the tone is roughly realistic. With this characteristic, XP20/20 is building on the ‘Groninger Ploeg‘ a local Dutch expressionist movement in ’30s and ’40s.

5. Big story
The artist tells a story in words, where they link their painting to themes that are bigger than the painting and larger than their own life. Often these stories will be about the human condition; the life challenges each of us deals with. The story clearly connects the work to its purpose for the viewer, in an explicit way. With this characteristic, XP20/20 is adding an element that has been present in the work many expressionist artists, but which had not been formalized as a characteristic yet.
JAAPH, Psychologists on the beach, 2019, Acrylics on canvas; 90 x 90 cm
XP 20/20
Uwe Hoche, Symbolic Interaction, Drawing Gum, Acrylic Paint, 2018
XP 20/20
Marina Aleph,
"C'est l'amant vert de gris", Photoshop, 2019
XP 20/20
Raiber González Hechavarría, El viejo, acrylic on canvas 90 x 90 cm, 2016
XP 20/20
Mouhcine Laghazal, Run Wild, Photoshop, 2018
A schematic overview of the five expressionisms
Ex20/20 a new movement in art

Ex20/20 a new movement in art