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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

APPROACHES - In The Words Of . . . .

From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988.

Piet Mondrian

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A Purified Esthetic Form
1917 - Manifesto

The life of the cultured person of today gradually turns away from natural things to become more and more an abstract life.

With natural [exterior] things becoming more and more automatic, we see our vital attention concentrate more and more on interior things. The life of the really modern person is neither purely materialistic nor purely sentimental. Rather, it manifests itself as an autonomous life of a human mind, conscious of itself.

The modern human--even though a unity of body, soul, and mind--shows us a changed conscience: All expressions of life appear under another aspect, I mean under a more positively abstract aspect.

The same applies to art. Art will become the product of another duality in humans: the product of a cultured exteriority and a more conscious, deeper interiority. As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in a purified esthetic form, that is, abstractly.

The really modern artist feels consciously the abstraction in the experience of beauty, he recognizes that the sense of the beautiful is cosmic, universal. The corollary of this conscious recognition is the abstract plastic, the individual adhering to what is universal.

The new plastic art thus cannot take the shape of natural or concrete representation, which, it is true, always indicates the universal to a certain extent or at least harbors it. This new plastic art will not adorn itself with the things that are characteristic of particularization, that is, with natural form and natural color. On the contrary, it must find its expression in the abstraction from any form and color, that is, in the straight line and in the clearly defined primary color.

These means of universal expression were discovered in modern painting through the advance of a progressive and logical abstraction of form and color. Once found, we saw the appearance of the exact representation of bare relationships and the essential, fundamental fact of any plastic experience of the beautiful.

The new plastic art is therefore an esthetic relationship accurately presented. The artist of today creates it, in painting, as a consequence of any plastic art of the past, and he does this best in painting, because painting is the art that is the least tied to contingencies. Modern life in its entirety, getting deeper, can see itself reflected purely in the art of painting.

Piet Mondrian, De Stijl, No. 1 [Excerpt]

[An Exerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 175]




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