For centuries artists created artwork to represent figurative images. Landscapes and people, gods and machines. Art was a tool to communicate reality. But with the proliferation of the camera, a slow shift began in art. The world could be documented without paint or stone, and so at the dawn of the 20th century, artists began to abstract their images, fragmenting reality, and eventually — removing it completely.
Reed Enger, "Abstract Art, Unshackled from the figure," in Obelisk Art History, Published October 08, 2015; last modified January 08, 2021, http://arthistoryproject.com/subjects/abstract/.