We went to an art exhibition today. While it was the first ever exhibition of Piet Mondrian’s work to be held in Ireland, it was also a jewel of an exhibition, a worthy treat after ten months of isolation from what are today considered unnecessary activities.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Mondrian because it was through his art that I came to appreciate the path of deconstruction from realism to abstraction, something my father pointed out to me. This show featured early landscapes and a progression to his abstracted geometric paintings. I suspect that it’s because of Mondrian that my favourite items to photograph are reflections and other distortions of reality.
We had the National Gallery of Ireland almost to ourselves for thirty minutes, such are the restrictions on attendance. Of course the pictures were hard to see through my mask-fogged glasses but it felt almost ‘normal’ being among a faceless few at an exhibition of an artist who almost never depicted people.
As Mondrian wrote in 1919 to Theo van Doesburg ‘what is natural does not have to be a representation of something.’ Or anyone, apparently.
Our last excursion to see Mondrian was in 2007 at MOMA. New York seems a long way off these days but the exhibition of his work was inspiring. How fitting it was that Mondrian was finally recognised and fêted under the geometric skylines of the new world he embraced. I fell in love with Composition in Brown and Gray 1913 and took a picture of it and am showing only the corner of it for fear of copyright issues. It was a joy of MOMA that were were allowed take photos of ourselves with the art we loved, images of perhaps four milliseconds preserved for decades.
Sadly, the National Gallery don’t own the art they have on loan from the Kunstmuseum Den Haag and other sources. But many thanks to everyone who made this happen in Dublin. It it is a wonderfully conceived and curated exhibition. It’s a shame that an exhibition such as this could not house pictures to illustrate Mondrian’s late-in-life New York based art that mimicked the jazz that captured the rhythm, energy and structural grid of the New York metropolis.
Art is necessary. Suddenly I feel ready to commit to printing a series of photozines that I’ve been planning for years.