Neo-minimalism or Neo-Geometrism is an amorphous art movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Neo-minimalism is an artistic movement that advocated the use of domestic objects as sculptural materials.

Neo-Geo painting has brought up to date the visual precepts of minimalism, re-adapted to the new linear encoding of urban society, whose signage has become the medium of visual games, or, in sculpture, the occasion of ready-made sacralizing emptiness: the Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank and the Vacuum Cleaner by Jeff Koons are the most prominent symbols, or with Peter Halley’s painting, A Perfect World, Black Cell for example.

The Euclidean linearity declined in these works is distinguished from the visual trends that followed them, dominated by fractal aesthetics, related popular theories at the time, including the theory of chaos.

Neo-geo style is often seen as a continuation of traditions not so much the classical geometric abstraction of the first half of the 20th century as pop art. Neo-geo is an abstraction of the postmodern era, which rejected both the utopian ambitions of Malevich or Mondrian, and from the extremely personal and dramatic beginnings of abstract expressionism.

Other terms include: Neo-Conceptualism, Neo-Futurism, Neo-Op, Neo-Pop, New Abstraction, Poptometry, Post-Abstractionism, Simulationism, and Smart Art.

The founder and theorist neo-geo Peter Helly thinks his own canvases not as an ideal model of the superhuman universe, but not as a splash of his own subconscious. In his paintings he proposes to see not even abstract constructions, but some kind of schemes and graphs of the modern society: squares and rectangles – as all sorts of “social cells”, lines – as social connections and communication networks. As befits a postmodernist, in his vision of the present, Peter Helly is inspired by the ideas of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, in particular, the notion of the media hyper-reality that has come to replace the physical reality.

The aspects of “postmodern art” that have been described as neo-minimalism (and related terms) involve a general “reevaluation of earlier art forms.” As its various titles indicate, the movement draws on earlier mid-to-late-20th century developments in Minimalist art, Abstract Expressionism and its offshoots, plus Pop Art, Op Art, and other threads of artistic development.

Painters of the neo-geo current prolong and update the different researches previously carried out in the field of minimalism, op art and geometric abstraction. They most often paint large-format works composed of motifs or signs standing out on flat and colored backgrounds. Peter Halley uses phosphorescent paints and synthetic plaster. His work proves that a purely geometric art is not necessarily abstract or cut off from any reality external to the painting. Halley observes and depicts a world where mathematical models and constraining architectures condition both urban planning, social organization, institutions (schools, hospitals …). Philip Taaffe combines organic and geometric motifs as well as ornamental forms borrowed from the history of decorative art. The shapes are duplicated and repeated. his paintings claim a character both decorative and meditative.

Contemporary artists who have been linked to the term, or who have been included in shows employing it, include Peter Halley, Philip Taaffe, Lorenzo Belenguer, Ashley Bickerton, David Burdeny, Paul Kuhn, Eve Leader, Peter Schuyff, Christopher Willard and Tim Zuck. The steel sculptures of Richard Serra have been described as “austere neo-Minimalism….”

For these painters, who have all questioned the meaning of their own practices, the best remains the pleasure it provides and the reflections it arouses.

Design and music
Beyond painting, sculpture and other “museum art,” the term has been applied to architecture, design, and music. In architecture, indeed, neo-minimalism has been identified as a part of “the new orthodoxy….”

Minimalism is based on extreme simplicity of form and a deliberate lack of expressive content. Its central principle a work of art should not refer to anything other than itself.

Neo-minimalism architecture
“Less is more” refers to building designs that are reduced to the absolute bare minimum of elements. Minimalist architectural design typically uses basic geometric shapes, harmonious colours, natural textures, open-plan spatial arrangements, neat and straight components, clean finishes, flat or nearly flat roofs, large windows and satisfying negative spaces.

Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (1902–1988) was a Mexican architect and engineer. His work has influenced contemporary architects through visual and conceptual aspects. He studied as an engineer in his home town. One of the project is the Hotel Camino Real in Polanco, Mexico City. This project reflects the importance of the native culture and its intersection with an elegant modern design.

John Pawson (born 1949) is a British architectural designer whose work is known for its minimalist aesthetic. Pawson’s work focuses on ways of approaching fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials.

Tadao Ando (born in 1941) is a Japanese architect. Tadao Ando’s body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for structures that follow natural forms of the landscap. Ando’s buildings are often characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths. These paths weave in between interior and exterior spaces formed both inside large-scale geometric shapes and in the spaces between them.

His Row House in Sumiyoshi is a small two-story, cast-in-place concrete house completed in 1976, is an early work which began to show elements of his characteristic style. It consists of three equal rectangular volumes: two enclosed volumes of interior spaces separated by an open courtyard. The house is famous for the contrast between appearance and spatial organization which allow people to experience the richness of the space within the geometry.

Neo-minimalism sculpture
Minimal objects were simple, geometric bodies such as cubes, used in and for themselves, and not as symbols or as representations.
Minimalist sculptures encouraged the viewer to be conscious of the space. The artwork was carefully arranged to emphasize and reveal the architecture, often being presented on walls, in corners, or directly onto the floor.

Minimalist artist preferred industrial materials, prefabricated and/or mass-produced: fibreglass, Plexiglass, plastic, sheet metal, plywood, and aluminum. Steel, glass, concrete, wood and stone are also returning materials. The materials were either left raw (or hardly processed by the artist), or were solidly painted with bright industrial colours.

Neo-minimalism is a rather vaguely defined art style/movement of the late 20th, early 21st centuries, Neo-Minimalism describes attempts to go beyond the idiom of minimalism,in architecture or the visual arts. In simple terms, 1960s minimalism is a rather intellectual style of art characterized by extreme simplicity of form and a deliberate lack of expressive content. Minimalist artists were only interested in presenting a pure “idea”. In Post-Minimalism (1971 onwards), the focus shifts from the purity of the idea, to HOW it is conveyed.

Neo-Minimalism Fashion
True to the motto “less is more,” minimalist fashion is a stylish response to the excessive exuberance of some fashion trends.

Minimalist fashion has a clear goal: to radically simplify and reduce looks to their most basic elements. This means using clean lines, geometric forms and a limited number of colors, as well as rejecting decorative elements or elaborate production techniques. The emphasis is on functional design and garments made of luxury materials, such as cashmere and silk. The resulting outfit is classic and suitable for any occasion.

The recent trend of neo-minimalism builds on these same traditional principles, but seeks to create playful contrasts. Accessories in neon colors add a youthful vitality to an understated look. Neo-minimalism has also inspired the appearance of asymmetrical sweaters and angular blazers. The very clear, almost abrupt transitions between materials and colors—as well as the angular forms—create a really striking effect.

“After the bacchanal of post-modernism, the time has again come for neo-minimalism, neo-ascetism, neo-denial and sublime poverty.”