10/09/14 - Mondrian and his Studios at Tate Liverpool

Even if you don't consciously know the name Piet Mondrian or his importance to the world of twentieth century abstract art, you'll undoubtedly be familiar with some of his work.  His style is so distinctive that you can't fail to recognise it and his influences stretch far beyond the art world.  I've suddenly started noticing Mondrian everywhere.  A billboard displaying a car advert caught my eye with its black lines and primary coloured blocks, as did Katy Perry's video for her new song 'This Is How We Do'.  He's everywhere, which just goes to show how vital his work is even seventy years after his death.

To mark this anniversary, the Tate Liverpool have put together the largest exhibition of his work to be staged in the UK.  Mondrian and his Studios features his artwork from various periods alongside a life-size replica of his Parisian studio and details of his working environments in London and New York.  This adds an entirely different dimension to the experience; tracking his journey enables you to get a feel for the development of his work and the external factors that influenced it.  Understanding how he worked is just as important as appreciating the significance of his art.

I didn't know an awful lot about Mondrian stepping into the exhibition, but I found that the whole experience really enabled me to come away feeling like I'd learned a lot about his artistic process and could understand the creative decisions that he made in a way that most exhibitions don't achieve.  Not only was his studio a space in which he worked, but also where he lived and entertained various big names of the booming avant-garde community in early twentieth century Paris.  The slightly ramshackle appearance of the room and the photographs depicting Mondrian with friends seem to be in stark contrast with the clean lines and basic colours of his work, an interesting distinction which would be lost without the addition of the more personal aspects of Mondrian's life alongside the professional.

The exhibition is on at the Tate Liverpool and runs until 5th October 2014, and I would highly recommend a visit.  Further information on the exhibition and how to get tickets is available here.

1 comment:

  1. The important thing for me is that seeing Mondrian's paintings for real, and not in reproduction or copies, shows that they are anything but clinical which is what most people think of them. They were not painted using rulers or masking tape, they are intuitive, they are felt not predetermined.

    My only regret is that there was not one of the very late New York paintings which would have rounded out the career.