Mondrian exhibition in Rio de Janeiro

At least seventy master pieces for the exhibition ‘Mondrian e o Movemento De Stijl’ have been touring through Brazil for the last year. The final destination is Rio de Janeiro. Afterwards the art objects will move back to the Netherlands. The exhibition is hosted in Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) until 9 January 2017 and is free of charge.

Mondrian and De Stijl art exhibition in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Mondrian e o Movemento De Stijl

As it is super hot outside, I think that it is definitely worth visiting the gallery. Both because the venue has a better air conditioning than my apartment, and even more because I am really excited to see Mondrian’s art for the first time in my life. The exhibition has a narrative and chronological setup and clearly shows the development of the art movement where Mondrian was leading. The movement is called De Stijl (Dutch for The Style). Most famous he became for his abstract art. According to the artist the more abstract things become the better you can see relations. For this reason he brought his art to a level of abstraction of which he claimed it to be closer to reality than any non-abstract painting where threedimensional images are created through working with different colour tones. They ae illusional, and therefore less real.

Piet Mondriaan abstract art
Piet Mondrian’s famous abstract art

There is an old and new consciousness of time. The old is connected with the individual and the new is connected with the universal. – De Stijl movement

De Stijl caused a revolutionary change in a world that was changing from individual to more global. World War I was about to begin, and industrialisation fueled the start of globaliztion. The collective of artists leveraging the same style of artis an example of this change as well. The exposition doesn’s show it but the main thing why I love Mondrian’s art so much is because he has inspired other creatives through the 20th century. Many designers took Mondrian as a source of inspiration. Among them is Gerrit Rietveld who clearly refers to Mondrian in his furniture design. Rietveld was part of the movement De Stijl.

Gerrit Rietveld furniture design De Stijl
Gerrit Rietveld design

Famous interpretations of Mondrian’s art came after his death in 1944. Yves Saint Laurent expressed in his famed Mondrian dress from the 60s. The White Stripes named their album ‘De Stijl’ in 2000. All of these people were part of avant garde movements in their own time, using inspiration from earlier days.

Brazilian interpretation of De Stijl movement by a Brazilian artist
Later interpretation of De Stijl movement

I really enjoyed the exhibition and feel inspired by Mondrian’s message as well. On my way out I see a huge parking lt in the centre of Rio de Janeiro which seems inspired by Mondrian. So the Brazilians like abstract as well. I think that I will bring abstract thinking home from this exhibition, because then relations become visible. It seems like a good thing. But how do you actually do that? I look a myself in the reflection of a window. I see how pale I look. Then I look above to the sun. Yep, I haven’t seen the sun for far too long, spending all day in the museum. I clearly see the relation and understand why I am not tanned. I got it. I just head to Ipanema now for an afternoon in the sun. I love this way of thinking.

This parking lot in the centre of Rio de Janeiro looks inspired by de Stijl
Parking lot in Rio looks almost inspired by De Stijl

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