A new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary explores Mondrian (1872-1944) and Colour. The survey is the first to explore practice, tracing the painter’s use of colour from figuration to abstraction, in his early years. Bringing together around 50 paintings by the artist from the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and other collections in Europe and the USA, the exhibition will demonstrate that Mondrian’s abstract works were not simply mathematical exercises in form but also expressed his search for a new universal harmony.
This first exhibition on the significance of colour in the paintings of Mondrian will investigate his artistic career beginning with the earthy paintings of his early work, his paintings in red and blue which arose from his interest in theosophy and the colour fields he painted in the period following 1921. In the landscapes he created shortly after 1900, Mondrian painted the rays of the sun and the glow of the moon in order to make a new statement about colour. He was no longer interested in capturing a fleeting external reality in the Impressionist sense; instead, his goal was to express spirituality in painting and return it to its essential nature. In 1921, Mondrian decided to paint only in primary colours which led to his abstract works. Celebrating the pioneer of abstract art, Turner Contemporary offers a unique UK opportunity to view a large body of Mondrian’s early career in a new context.
Turner Contemporary is working in partnership with Tate Liverpool, who will present the concurrent exhibition Mondrian and his Studios: Abstraction into the World from 6 June until 21 September 2014. Mondrian and his Studios considers not only the artist’s importance in the field of abstraction, but also the complex relationship between his artworks and the space around them. The exhibition will focus on this connection between painting and architecture after Mondrian’s move to Paris in 1911, with a reconstruction of his studio at 26 Rue du Depart, Paris being a major highlight of the display. Together, the exhibitions will focus the UK’s attention on this pioneer of abstract art, timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of his death.