Modern Painting: Piet Mondrian

Zander Blom

Modern Painting: Piet Mondrian

This artist's book brings together Zander Blom's Untitled drawings from the series Modern Painting: Piet Mondrian. Continuing his inquiry into the practices of modern masters, Blom draws in black grease pencil on pages torn from books and catalogues on Mondrian, his irreverent iconography ranging from rats and alien-lizards to palm trees and pussy, and abstract scrawls. The series forms part of Blom's New Paintings exhibition (2016), which is accompanied by a text in which Blom contrasts the approaches of Mondrian and Picasso:

In terms of influence I have generally favoured warm-blooded chameleons like Picasso over stiff squares (excuse the pun) like Mondrian. Previously, to me, this simply meant: Picasso was interesting and having the best time, while Mondrian was boring and having a drab time. But now that I'm in my 30s, doubt has entered the room, as it tends to do, and I've started to re-evaluate old Piet. Sure, it is well-documented that Mondrian was an awkward human, wildly unsuccessful with woman, a man who loved jazz but had two left feet, while Pablo was the life of the party as well as a masterfully misogynistic bastard. But for all the differences in their temperaments, for better or worse they were both equally committed to revolutionising form. It seems to me that Picasso was a voyager who got his fix by crisscrossing and circling the globe many times over, often going back over his own routes, each time just a bit more belligerently drunk on his own fumes than the previous time around. By contrast Mondrian very soberly explored the surface for a while but eventually stopped his raft somewhere and then ventured off below. ...
By today's standards, Mondrian's efforts seem ancient and rigid, but his singular devotion to such a very limited area of form seems profound to me in ways that others can hardly touch. He's like the Robert Johnson of abstraction proper. Sure, there is no doubt that Piet was way too serious and humourless for anyone from our Internet Age of Irony to relate to, but for me the beauty of Mondrian lies in his Zen-like devotion to form, his stripped-down simple existence and his determination to stick to it and not get side-tracked. The beauty is in the dive, in the small expanse of ocean that he explored so thoroughly. ...

Published by Stevenson | 2016
Softcover, 120 pages | ISBN 978-0-620-69954-9 | Price: R750


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