An explanation of Mondrian's oeuvre by Michael Sciam

Today’s artistic scene

Who could have imagined that, after the noble and revolutionary ideals that inspired the artistic avant-gardes of the early 20th century, we would end up with arte povera, new savages, neo, trans and post of any sort.

To the uplifting and forward-looking visions of the Modern Movement, multinational cultural corporations, exhibition curators and self-styled artists now put speculation, hype and personalism that have little or nothing to do with real progress in art and culture.

Temporary art galleries and museums deal in ephemeral things that, with the help of complacent media, are passed off as things of value. Today’s wealthy collectors, largely status-hungry but spirit-poor new rich, would not be able to discern anyway.

As in the past, insiders ignore real artists because to us they could not tell the baloney they tell the public.

Between the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, everything changes in men’s lives, and through the intelligent and generous work of some painters, the way in which art expresses and celebrates life with forms and colors also changes accordingly. 

The changes were salutary but generated a gross misunderstanding: because the innovations of the historic avant-garde movements caused a scandal at the time, many still believe today that the purpose of art is to scandalize. Contemporary art museums are full of gimmicks and gimmicks. 

Art is not born in museums, much less at the hands of critics and curators. These did not understand then, when it became necessary to destroy canons that had become obsolete, and they do not understand today the work of those who continue the construction of the new initiated by some 20th century masters.

In today’s hectic and disruptive reality, art should help give new form to the most substantial aspects of existence, evoking a vision of the world that lasts longer than a couple of seasons. “Art must express the universal.” (Piet Mondrian)

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.