“Abstract: The Art of Design.” Documentary Series by Netflix

This TV series produced by Netflix remains the most mind-blowing visual experience in the recent documentary filmmaking. This is the result of combining all possible art forms through 8 strong stories and bringing the viewer on a visual journey.


What is “Abstract”? It is a shortcut to a representation of the real world… when you take an object, a story, an idea, and you remove all unnecessary details. “Abstract” as a film, gives us an overview of what the art-scene of today looks like… from the point of view of the most famous artists and creators. 8 artists are telling their life stories and take us though a creative process as they live it every day at work. A famous New Yorker illustrator, a sport shoes designer, a graphic designer, an architect, a stage designer, a photographer, a car designer and a designer of furniture.

They have little in common, they work differently, produce different art and get inspired by diverse life situations, places and objects. They are representing the modern life using different media and platforms. The thing in common would be their abstraction to this world and the constant search for beauty and harmony in daily chaos. Just look at that simple portrait photography of Platon for whom posed such personalities as Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Kaddafi… His artwork is simple but emotional, those portraits are making the cover of Time magazine.


One of the artists that I would definitely highlight is Es Devlin, based in England she spends her time creating the best stages and performances for the biggest world musicians, reputed theaters and operas, for the fashion shows of Louis Vuitton and Chanel. A designer who’s designed sets for everyone from Harold Pinter to Beyonce, Devlin’s works are captivating, and she’s also an engaging screen presence, happily bringing the camera into her creative process. She started her career as décor designer, today she embellishes stages by creating moods, atmospheres and ambiences. She has this rare talent to turn an idea or a text into a visual experience. Her favorite material to work with is mirror. Today it gives unlimited possibilities to create unimaginable multidimensional experiences. A mirror can be used to create depth, to reflect, to project visual on it or to unveil whatever is positioned behind. Mirrors are walls given life. This incredible artist transports the audience into the world of imagination, the exact place where the director or the author would love to bring us during the performance. We never think of how the visual aspect of the stage can change our perception of reality.


Each episode of this documentary series is shot, edited and illustrated with graphics with the same attempt to demonstrate what “abstract” is. The team behind this Netflix production went through an enormous artistic challenge in order to produce a stylish, creative and high-quality content. I would say, that each episode is an abstract master piece in itself. Great high-end editing, combining motion graphics with most conventional filming technics, created a rhythmed storyline. It is never boring and, each sequence of the film is valuable to the whole picture. The first episode with Christoph Niemann, the illustrator, was premiered at Sundance Film Festival. So, it is surely not a standard TV series at all!


We probably do not fully realize at which point the modern art is rich and inspiring. There is so much to invent and to reinvest in this universe. Those 8 artists are connected to this modern world, so they review it in the most adapted to our time manner. This series allows us to enjoy some very esthetic movies, and give us an opportunity to appreciate the contemporary art.

Executive produced by Morgan Neville, the documentarians assembled to capture the spotlighted subjects have done a masterful job, by and large, of highlighting the unique sort of artistry at work here. The episodes are directed by Morgan Neville herself, E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Sarina Roma, Brian Oakes and Richard Press.