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Re-Inventing Piet: Ausstellung zu Mondrian und den Folgen
Sylvie Fleury, Mondrian Boots, 1992, 60 boots, each 24 × 24.5 × 3-8 cm, installation dimensions variable, FER Collection, © Sylvie Fleury, Photo: Annika Kemter
Exhibition view “Re-Inventing Piet. Mondrian and the Consequences”, photo: Marek Kruszewski. Works shown: Yves Saint Laurent, Mondrian Cocktail Dress, Homage to Piet Mondrian, Autumn/Winter 1965 Haute Couture Collection, © Yves Saint Laurent

Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), a Dutch painter, frequently advocated for the integration of art and life. His art has visually permeated many areas of life, at least posthumously: His abstract compositions have appeared on clothing and cosmetics packaging, as well as watches, T-shirts, bags, and complete home facades. In the 1910s, Mondrian abandoned figurative painting and pioneered abstract painting, which he called “New Design” or “Neoplasticism” in his art-theoretical writings. Although his neoplastic works were difficult for many to access, few other artistic positions in the 20th and 21st centuries have been quoted, copied, varied, appropriated, adapted, or satirised as frequently and in as many ways as Piet Mondrian’s – by fashion, advertising, architecture, design, and, of course, art itself.

The exhibition “Re-Inventing Piet. Mondrian and the Consequences” which runs until July 6 at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, brings together around 150 works from the fields of painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, graphics, as well as objects and items from art, design, and everyday culture. They demonstrate the breadth of Mondrian’s main neoplastic work in new creations, adaptations, variations, and persiflage. Examples from the De Stijl movement, to which Mondrian also belonged, demonstrate that colleagues such as Bart van der Leck, Theo van Doesburg, and Gerrit Rietveld strove for new forms of design as well.

Yves Saint Laurent’s famous cocktail dresses helped popularise Mondrian’s work as early as the 1960s. In her works, Sylvie Fleury addresses the rise of luxury goods in the fashion industry. However, artists such as Remy Jungerman, Sarah Morris, Mathieu Mercier, and others have addressed Mondrian’s abstraction. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Cologne, has released a comprehensive publication on the exhibition. The exhibition and publishing project was created in collaboration with the Wilhelm Hack Museum Ludwigshafen, where it will be shown from September 9 to January 21, 2024.

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