Vordemberge-Gildewart was a late member of the De Stijl group that had been formed by Theo van Doesberg and Piet Mondrian in 1917. One of the first painters to focus on abstraction from the very beginning of his career, he produces these balanced, beautiful and harmonious works throughout his life (died in 1962). In Art and Photography (1968), the art-historian Aaron Scharf describes the kind of harmonious aesthetic-technical innovation process evangelised by De Stijl:
“The idea of art as play, discussed by Kant and then by Schiller late in the 18th century, and elaborated upon by Konrad Lange at the turn of the nineteenth, became an important consideration in the aesthetics of twentieth century theoreticians. The spiritual pleasure inherent in the freedom of experimentation was believed by the De Stijl artist, Theo van Doesburg, to be an essential pre-requisite of the truly creative process – the gestalting or forming process as he called it. ‘Play he wrote, is the first step of creation.’ In Film as Pure Form in 1929, characteristically structuring its evolution, he noted that, like other media, photography, having first gone through a phase of imitation, then a second stage of experimentation and manipulation in the mastering of its technical means, must now (as with film), give way to purely creative expression.”
Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter and member of the De Stijl group (with Bart van der Leck, Gerrit Reitveldt Theo van Doesburg and JJP Oud). His rigorous abstraction and his meditational explorations of the space of the rectangle give him a unique place in 20th Century Art. A follower of the Theosophist Helena Blavatsky, Mondrian spent much of his life searching for the Spiritual harmony that she suggested could be found by non-empirical means…Why does this inspire?
I love how Mondrian’s cool Zen-like (actually Theosophist-like) meditations on the space of the rectangle (and occasionally the diamond) are seemingly simple, yet always intriguing, always harmonius – as if he has found some other Golden Section of harmony..and he’s saying ‘Here it is. It’s that simple.” and I still look and think, letting his subtle rhythms and intervals gradually resonate with my own. These are just fabulous koans – art-poems simplified-down, reduced-down, compressed to their essence, records of his Spiritual quest.
Mondrain said: “The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.”
He also said:
‘Nature (or what I see) inspires me, gives me, as it does virtually every painter, the emotion from which the urge derives to create something. But I want to approach truth as closely as possible, and thus I abstract everything until I come to the essence (always the external essence!) of things.’