Review: Mondrian and His Studios at Tate Liverpool

Piet Mondrian – the man, the legend; modern art renegade and latest muse for Tate Liverpool’s most recent paying exhibition. This Dutch prodigy changed the face of abstract art at the beginning of the 20th Century and certainly pulled me through an art exam during my last year at high school. Recognised by everyone from Yves Saint Laurent, who half-inched his famous patterns for a dress design, to Joe Bloggs slurping his ice cream at the Albert Dock, Mondrian and his Studios delves deeper into the man behind the iconic paintings. Verging on intriguingly obsessive, Mondrian’s work largely consists of white canvas broken up into random-sized quadrilaterals separated by thick black lines and sporadically filled in with red, blue and yellow blocks of colour. If we’re being brutally honest, once you’ve seen one, you’ve basically seen them all but it’s still pretty cool to be able to stand so close to an artwork that has been touched by an icon and even see his very own brushstrokes, almost as if you can see right into his subconscious. The upmost precision and dedication to perfecting his signature pattern is utterly fascinating and you genuinely find yourself as curious about one as the next. A great deal of the first room is taken up a reconstruction of Mondrian’s Paris studios, which is definitely the star of the show here. Kind of like Alice down the rabbit hole, you’re transported into a three-dimensional version of one of his many paintings and left to feel like a stray brush hair on an otherwise immaculate canvas. Squares on squares on rectangles on rectangles – this place is Nirvana for anyone with a minor to major case of OCD. Coincidentally Katy Perry has just this minute uploaded a picture of herself to Instagram, wearing a uber-tight latex Mondrian two-piece as I write this review. I’m not entirely sure what relevance that has bear but I thought it worth a mention and I really do love when an artists legacy is so strong it can be carried through generation to generation evolving with the times but still maintaining its own raw enigma throughout. There’s got to be something said for an artist, no matter how rigid his use of primary colours may have been,  when his work is still celebrated as largely seven decades following his death – an anniversary this exhibition pays tribute to. The elusive upstairs gallery showcased this exhibition without either overcrowding or overwhelming the viewer, but then I guess Master Mondrian was all about that minimalism life after all.

One thought

  1. Straight lines, right angles, solid blocks of colour, repeat – Mondrian knew the recipe for calming even the most tightly bound of OCD sufferers. Love his work too by the way, those colours are applied in combinations touched by genius.

    So, after reading another of this wonderful, insightful, soulful writers reviews, its time for a cup of tea – one that will be placed in the very centre of my Mondrian placemat between sips. Cheers.

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