Thursday, 5 December 2013

De Stijl

De Stijl, meaning 'the Style' was a Dutch movement in 1917 by Theo Van Doesburg that set out to reduce art to shapes and colours. It was influenced by Cubist painting and went on to influence the Bauhaus after it.

Piet Mondrian,
Apple Tree, 1908
Piet Mondrian became one of the leading figures of De Stijl - but like the rest of them he started with figurative art (or at least, a bit more figurative than it was to become...)

Ocean 5, 1915
Cue the essential shapes with nothing else. This is purely a formalist approach whereby shapes and colour are all that is used to represent an image. The lines look a little bit like ripples of an ocean.

Composition No. II: Composition in Line and Colour, 1920
Things were getting simpler and more abstract...

Composition A, 1920
Here he has essentialised reality into simple elements. Even more simple than before and this time doesn't even have a name.

Lozenge Composition, 1925

NYC, 1941-42
This although simple, appealed to me. I'm not gonna lie and say that I'd love to go to an exhibition full of these kind of compositions - but the idea that a city is a grid is quite cool I think. It gives me more of a powerful impression of a city than any specific street would because at the end of the day, when you go up in a plane and see a city you don't see individual little things. Like Milton Keynes for example, a grid with billions of roundabouts, I'd like to see that from the sky. Or Barcelona, as the plane went up into the air as I left I noticed that half of the city is constructed like a grid. So, when I see this, I think of that and that specific experience.

Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1943
I am so certain that Space Invaders came from this!!! Uncanny. The lines and colours have become more frequent and close together - I would suppose that's Mondrian's way of telling us that the Broadway's Boogie Woogie is particularly noisy and full of movement. Closer together: picking up pace.

Theo Van Doesburg,
Composition IX, 1917
The creator of De Stijl himself! This is otherwise known as 'card players' and until I knew that I didn't see anything but shapes. But now that I know, I can see two people playing cards.

Cafe Aubette, 1926
Modernist Architecture is amazing. This is COOOOOL. You can defo see where the Bauhaus got some of its ideas from. Simple shapes and colours - lovely. I think De Stijl did a lot more for architecture than it did art and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that.

Gerrit Rietveld,
Schroeder House, 1924
My university courses have been full of images, sculptures, buildings, churches etc of very old things for a long old time - even 18th and 19th century stuff looks pretty old. But then I saw this, for the first time ever - something in Art History that I'm used to!

J.J.P Oud, 
Cafe de Unie, 1925

Ludwig Van der Rohe,
German Pavillion, 1929

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