Piet Mondrian’s pictures essay

I see Mondrian’s neoplasticism in psycho-epistemological terms, as an abstract depiction of the architecture of a logical mind.

Richard Speer on Piet Mondrian

If one had to describe Piet Mondrian’s pictures to someone who hasn’t seen them, it would be difficult to express the whole impression of it, the impression that the picture leaves in your mind. Translated to human words, the picture would become a simple randomly painted arrangement of squares and lines. Yet the impression of the picture doesn’t coincide with its description in words. I can site two reasons for this. The first reason is Mondrian’s near-symmetry. At first sight it seems to you that everything is either parallel or orthogonal. But looking again one can notice that this parallelism and orthogonality are not precise, the lines seem to create a dynamic painting in your thoughts, and this effect is not still, looking at the picture from different sides different changes of the picture’s direction and expression can be noticed.

The other outstanding trait of Mondrian’s technique is that his paintings seem to express and develop the process taking place in human thoughts. The painting creates the effect of logical and structured development, but nevertheless the picture tells us that at that time the process is rather many-sided, it varies from the angle you look at the picture and from the angle of your inner direction. While some drawings of this style seem to be chaotic and disorganized, and in a way not totally sane, Mondrian’s drawings are absolutely sensible and logical, but not deprived of individuality. It seems that Mondrian depicted the process of rational mind and intellect acting in the microcosm in all its dynamics and variety. His Composition in White, Black and Red seems to bring thoughts into order and give a choice for further direction. Unlike many geometric drawings, this one does not appear to be still, vise versa, it moves and changes giving the viewer space for own meditation.

Looking at Mondian’s composition in White, Black and Red, one can find behind the fragmentation a solid white space opening up as an abyss and perhaps symbolizing the microcosm. On this background, abstract forms can move and change their shape in the imagination of the viewer. On that basis appears mondrian’s favorite rectangle symbolizing solidity and structure. Again the non-preciseness makes this structure open for development. In my opinion, dynamics and the above-mentioned near-symmetry constitute Mondrian’s most interesting feature and his most valuable input into drawing technique. And these features make his drawings rather philosophic and sophisticated, but at the same time calming and structured, and these drawings actually make the viewer develop and think, which is the most important concerning the effect of the pictures.

Leave a Reply