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Modern Interpretation of Horror Vacui

Abstract Expressionism

In the context of modern art movements, horror vacui is associated with abstract expressionism, which emerged in the mid-20th century in the United States. Abstract expressionism uses a dense and complex layering of marks, lines, and colors, which leave no empty space on the canvas, as a way of expressing subjective and personal ideas of composition and representation. For abstract expressionists, the canvas is a space for exploration and the act of creation is a way of filling that space with meaning and emotion.


Horror vacui is also associated with surrealism, which emerged in the early 20th century. Surrealism uses a dense and complex layering of imagery, which leaves no empty or blank spaces on the canvas, as a way of exploring the subconscious and expressing the irrational and the uncanny. The focus is on creating works that challenge traditional ideas of representation and perception, and that uncover hidden meanings and truths through the medium of art.

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