The author is inspired by Wassily Kandinksy’s famous treatise Über das Geistige im der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art, 1912) when he states that the vocation for the immaterial is an essential ingredient in aesthetic practice. Taking into consideration, above all, the figurative arts, he does not intend to recount the
history of this vocation, but rather to refer to a number of significant examples and periods of decisive importance also for modern art. The most significant example for the author is constituted by the Dada
movement, which in the collective imagination tends to defuse the most dangerous elements of the infatuations or fears and senses of guilt generated at the beginning of the last century by scientific and technological progress and, above all, by the myths of mechanism. The analysis stops on the threshold of the modern society of virtual immateriality with a reference to two great post-modern artists who also feel the need to stress the immaterial vocation of art by grafting it onto ‘libertarian’ machines that are
unproductive, useless and dematerializing: the artists are Jean Tinguely and Yves Klein.