An explanation of Mondrian's oeuvre by Michael Sciam


Highlighting existential aspects of Neoplasticism

Why abstract?

Painting means translating the infinite dimensions of life into the two-dimensional space of a canvas; it means observing the world, breathing in all of its forms and colors, and transforming that countless variety into the most concentrated forms of thought. “Painting is a mental activity” (Leonardo da Vinci)

Straight opposite lines?

Horizontal and vertical lines have no inherent value in Neoplastic space. They serve as visual metaphors of the duality present in the human mind, the symbol of basic natural forces that clash and relate with one another to generate the infinite variety of the world.

Shaping the invisible

How to represent such a reality? Fleeting and at the same time omnipresent; a flexible structure that continuously expands and contracts, made of visible and invisible energy in constant transformation that relentlessly flows between individuals uniting them in one great breath that Japanese wisdom calls KI.

Neoplasticism in relation to individual and social life

“It is important to distinguish two types of equilibrium in art: 1) static equilibrium and 2) dynamic equilibrium. It is always natural for human beings to seek static equilibrium. This equilibrium is obviously necessary for existence in time. But vitality always destroys this equilibrium in constant temporal succession. Abstract art is a concrete expression of this vitality.” (Mondrian)

Neoplasticism and urban space

Mondrian’s Neoplasticism teach us to conceive harmoniously a space in a state of becoming. Just think of how unharmonious the space of our cities is and how frustrating it is for us as we experience everything, instant after instant, in a constant whirl of fragments, no longer able to see the parts as a whole.

The modern project

The modern project foreshadowed by some masters of abstract art was something more than a fashion, which is what most of our contemporary visual “culture” boils down to. In the case of Mondrian, the question was not only aesthetic but also ethical, social, and above all spiritual at the same time. 

Today’s artistic scene

Contemporary art seems to have lost touch with the universal themes of mankind. I believe that once the anomalous wave of certain “contemporary art” – which has been abusing our patience in the recent past – has passed, art will be able to resume its journey towards new, more serene and convincing horizons.