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30 september 2010

PRESS RELEASE
Direction de la communication
75191 Paris cedex 04

Director
MONDRIAN/DE STIJL
Françoise Pams
telephone
00 33 (0)1 44 78 12 87
1ER DECEMBER 2010-21 MARCH 2011
e-mail GALERIE 1, LEVEL 6 (2100 m2)
francoise.pams@centrepompidou.fr

press officer
Anne-Marie Pereira
telephone
The MONDRIAN/DE STIJL exhibition at the Centre Pompidou links the career
00 33 (0)1 44 78 40 69 of one of the greatest abstract painters of the 20th century to the story of one
e-mail
anne-marie.pereira@centrepompidou.fr of the most fertile art movements of European modernism.

www.centrepompidou.fr A key element of any understanding of the springs of modern art, between the end
of the first decade of the century and the close of the Twenties the avant-garde
movement De Stijl (Style) elaborated a vision of both art and society that aspired to
universality, nourishing the ambition for a "total art." It was in Paris, between 1912
and 1938, that Piet Mondrian, the central figure of the movement and its most famous
representative, pursued his quest for visual harmony. Seeking a universal language
of forms and primary colours, his radical abstraction sought to go beyond painting.
For Mondrian and other De Stijl artists, the total work of art was the key to
a new world, the symbol of a renewed human community characterised by a perfect
equilibrium in which each element combines with every other to form a whole.
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The exhibition consists of two sections. The first, devoted to Mondrian, focuses
on the drawings and paintings he produced in Paris between 1912 and 1938.
Through some hundred major works, it shows the painter's development from
Cubism to Neo-Plasticism, from "natural reality to abstract reality," reflecting
the artistic dynamism that marked the painter's years in the French capital.
This is the first time since 1969 that a large-scale exhibition of Mondrian's work
has been staged in the city where most of it was indeed produced.
The second section looks at De Stijl, examining it history in parallel with Mondrian's
career, through an outstanding selection of paintings, drawings and photographs.
It has as its guiding thread the cross-disciplinary practice of the movement's
members, notably revealing the complexity of the collaborations between
the painters, architects and designers who rallied around the three leading figures
of Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld.
To accompany this unprecedented exhibition, Éditions du Centre Pompidou are
to publish two major works: Mondrian (ed. Brigitte Leal), and De Stijl, 1917–1931
(ed. Frédéric Migayrou and Aurélien Lemonier). Other publications will include
Mondrian / De Stijl, an album of the exhibition; an edition of Mondrian's French
writings; the republication of his key text of 1920, Réalité naturelle, réalité abstraite;
and a special number of the journal Les Cahiers du Musée.

The exhibition is supported by

in media partnership with


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PIET MONDRIAN (1872–1944)

Born in the Netherlands in 1872, Mondrian first received an academic training in Amsterdam,
where he gained his first commissions (traditional portraits, decorative work for
churches and private houses). At the start of the new century he was regularly painting,
in a Symbolist vein, the farmhouses and countryside near his family home at Winterswijk,
and already showing a marked interest in the rhythmic elements of composition (trees
and fences), flatness (with the raising of the horizon line to counter the effect of depth)
and the geometrization of forms.

Having moved to Paris in 1912, Mondrian discovered Picasso's Cubism and abandoned
the Divisionist- or Fauve-inspired painting, sometimes marked by theosophical influences,
of his years in Domburg and Oele, to embark on the quest for a "universal pictorial language."
Between 1912 and 1920, he gradually developed his Cubism towards Neo-Plasticism
(the new, abstract, plastic art), moving from "natural reality to abstract reality."
Starting from the analytical decomposition of form, he developed a "pure" visual art based
on the relationship between coloured surfaces and guided by a logic of harmony and
equilibrium between elements. This horizontal/vertical dialectic, in which pure colours
(blue, red, yellow) are juxtaposed with non-colours (black, white, grey) in a combinatorial
geometry that abolishes perspective, allows for an infinity of modular variations.

On this basis Mondrian produced during this period several series of paintings through
which he developed his theology of Neo-Plasticism. These works are ordered in consistent,
systematically developed series – the "plus-minus" works, the square compositions,
the diamonds, the grids. "Everything is composed by relation and reciprocity. Colour exists
only through another colour, dimension is defined by another dimension, there is no position
except in opposition to another position."
The painting is open, seemingly a fragment of a much larger ensemble. The division of the
canvas into rectangles echoes the frame, the wall on which the painting hangs, the room,
the city about... Neo-Plasticism is a vision of precision that ties pictorial order to a social,
spiritual and poetical utopia.

In his "sanctuary," his studio at 26 Rue du Départ in Montparnasse – a space not so much
decorated as treated as if it were itself a painting, furniture and easel included, to create
a total art space – Mondrian lived meagrely but far from reclusively. This experimental
laboratory served as the headquarters of a considerable operation combining theoretical
work, publishing and business, to promote the Neo-Plastic ideal and to develop and exploit
his connections among all the abstract currents of Europe (Dada, De Stijl, Abstraction-
Création, etc.).
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In 1915, the same studio was the site of his decisive encounter with Theo van Doesburg.
In 1918, he launched the of the De Stijl manifesto. In 1921, he showed at Léonce
Rosenberg's Effort Moderne gallery, which also published his treatise Le néoplasticisme:
Principe général de l’équivalence plastique, and staged the exhibition "De Stijl" in 1923.
In 1925, Mondrian took part, together with other leading abstractionists, in the first
international exhibition of non-figurative art, "L’Art d’Aujourd’hui." In 1926, he did the stage
design for Michel Seuphor's L’Éphémère est éternel. In 1927, he published "Le Home -
la Rue - la Cité" in Vouloir, showed at the Salon des Tuileries and exhibited at Jeanne
Bucher's. In 1931, he supported the formation of the Abstraction-Création group. In 1937,
he took part in the exhibition "Origines et développement de l’art international indépendant,"
organised at the Jeu de Paume by Yvonne et Christian Zervos.

During his twenty years in Paris, Mondrian got to know not only all the artists that
mattered – the Delaunays, the Arps, Jean Hélion, Robert Mallet–Stevens, Pierre Chareau,
Le Corbusier, the Cubists, the Constructivists, the Dadaists and the abstractionists,
but also many young artists such as Calder, who came especially to Paris in 1930 to visit
his studio.
In Paris too he found his first collectors, Frenchmen like Charles de Noailles, Americans
like Albert Gallatin, Swiss like Alfred Roth, and also his first disciples, such as Jean Gorin
and Félix Del Marle, and critics and eulogists like Christian Zervos and Michel Seuphor.

"A poem of right angles," according to Le Corbusier, the Neo-Plasticist microcosm


of 26 Rue du Départ became the crucial reference point of a new vision of the world that
subordinated the individual to the universal . As such, it was visited by the greatest
photographers of the time, among them André Kertész, Rogi André and Florence Henri,
who immortalised it in pictures published in art journals the whole world over.

Curator:

Brigitte Leal

Assistant Director, Collections

Musée National d'Art Moderne / Centre de Création Industrielle


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DE STIJL AND NEO-PLASTICISM

The Dutch avant-garde movement De Stijl (Style) is an essential key to any understanding
of the springs of Modernism. It formed around three central figures: the painters
Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg and architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld.
Other members of the original group were painters Bart van der Leck, Georges
Vantongerloo and Vilmos Huszar, architects JJP Oud, Robert van’t Hoff and Jan Wills,
and poet Anthony Kok, who would be joined by graphic designer Piet Zwart and architect
Cornelis van Eesteren.

It was in 1918, a year after the official foundation of the group and the publication
of the first issue of the journal that publicised and promoted the movement's teachings
that the founders of De Stijl explicitly articulated the aesthetic and social vision that
drew them together: the group's first manifesto called for a new equilibrium between
the individual and the universal and for the emancipation of art from the constraints
of the cult of individualism. This quest for the utopian and universal might be summed
up in the aphorism: "The goal of life is man; the goal of man is Style."

Both utopian vision and practical engagement in the production of the real in an industrial
world, De Stijl drew on the Hegelian tradition and on Theosophy, an esoteric doctrine then
popular in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The founders of the movement were however
primarily concerned with the formal – pictorial or architectural – expression of the
principles of universal harmony. Painting, sculpture, graphics, furniture design, architecture
and soon town planning served as the medium of experiment. De Stijl's creations were
multidisciplinary by nature, transcending the traditional academic boundaries between
major and minor arts, between decorative art, architecture and urbanism.

The guiding theme of the movement during its fourteen years of productive existence
might be taken to be the spirit of the city. The spatiality of the work of art gradually shifts
from being the basis for an analysis of the world to a means of construction of the urban
social and political environment. In this respect, the spatialization of the work of art
constitutes a specific experience of the world, ordering it and giving substance
to community, embodying and making possible the equilibrium between individual and
collective, between rational and sensuous, knowing and doing, spiritual and material.

For De Stijl, the priority was to find a formal language that answered to the problems
of industrial society in the wake of the Great War and to adumbrate the strategies for
the establishment of a new social order.
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The method that served the vision was Neo-Plasticism, which at first represented a simple
radicalisation of the avant-garde practice of the time. "The Cubists," said Mondrian,
"refuse to take their own artistic revolution to its logical conclusion. The modern sensibility
cannot be reduced to the integration of multiple points of view, but must tend towards
an immediately universal and rational plastic language." Van Doesburg, for his part, called
for "the elaboration, in connection with the plastic arts, of simple fundamental principles
understandable to all." It was through the rigorous employment of primary colours alone
(blue, yellow, red), unmodulated white and black, and straight lines laid out at right angles,
and the limitation of forms and the geometrization of volumes that this brought that
the members of De Stijl invented a new grammar of forms. The analytical simplification
of the formal lexicon and the harmonious dynamics of proportion offered no scope for
tragedy, in the end projecting aesthetics as a universal.

Curator:

Frédéric Migayrou

Assistant Director, Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre de Création Industrielle

Assistant Curator:

Aurélien Lemonier

Curator, Department of Architecture, Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre de Création Industrielle


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AROUND THE EXHIBITION

INTERNATIONAL MONDRIAN COLLOQUIUM


WEDNESDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2011, 11 AM – 13 PM, 2.30 PM – 6.30 PM
PETITE SALLE, LEVEL -1
Admission free subject to availability

To accompany the exhibition "Mondrian / De Stijl," the Centre Pompidou is organising


an international colloquium on Mondrian, under the direction of Brigitte Leal, curator
of the exhibition and Assistant Director, Collections, at the Musée National d’Art Moderne,
and Jean-Pierre Criqui, Head of Spoken Word at the MNAM and editor of the Cahiers
du Musée national d’art moderne. The colloquium will consider the artist's Paris years,
but also different aspects of his work as they extend both before and after this period.

With:
Carel Blotkamp, Free University of Amsterdam
Yve-Alain Bois, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Thierry de Duve, Université de Lille 3
Hans Janssen, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
Guitemie Maldonado, Université de Paris 1
Georges Roque, CNRS, EHESS, Paris
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INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM: "DE STIJL, UNE AVANT-GARDE DU XXe SIÈCLE"


FRIDAY 21 JANUARY 2011, 2 PM – 8.30 PM, PETITE SALLE, LEVEL -1

The Bibliothèque Publique d’Information at the Centre Pompidou is organising a colloquium


under the title "De Stijl, une avant-garde du XXe siècle." This event, consisting of a series
of presentations and a round-table discussion led by Frédéric Migayrou, Assistant Director
of the Musée National d’Art Moderne / Centre de Création Industriel, curator of the De Stijl
exhibition, and assistant curator Aurélien Lemonier, will bring together academics, art
historians, architects and artists to consider De Stijl's modernity.

With:
Michael White, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art, University of York
Marek Wieczorek, Associate Professor of Modern Art History, University of Washington
Philippe-Alain Michaud, curator and head of film at the Centre Pompidou
Valérie Guillaume, curator in chief and head of future technology at the Centre Pompidou
Round-table discussion with: Claude Parent, architect; Dominique Perrault, architect;
and Claude Rutault, artist

UN DIMANCHE, UNE ŒUVRE


SUNDAY 5 DECEMBER 2010, 11.30 PM
PETITE SALLE, LEVEL -1
¤4.50, concessions ¤3.50, free with annual pass

Mondrian, Composition en rouge, bleu et blanc II, 1937, is discussed in depth


by Guitemie Maldonado, lecturer at Université Paris 1/Panthéon-Sorbonne

URBAN WALK
SATURDAY 11 DECEMBER 2010, 11 AM – 6 PM
meet at 11 am on the Piazza of Centre Pompidou, opposite entrance
Cost ¤10, payable on arrival

The Dutch in Paris: Painting and Architecture

Of Mondrian's Paris studio in the Rue du Départ nothing remains but the memory.
But W. M. Dudok's Dutch Pavilion at the Cité Universitaire and Theo Van Doesburg's house
at Meudon both evoke the dynamics of Neo-Plasticist painting in a three-dimensional
expression of De Stijl's thinking.

With art historian Régis Labourdette.


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9. PRACTICALITIES

PRACTICALITIES AT THE SAME TIME AT THE CENTRE MANAGEMENT

Centre Pompidou GABRIEL OROZCO curator


75191 Paris cedex 04 15 SEPTEMBER 2010- Brigitte Leal
telephone 3 JANUARY 2011 Frédéric Migayrou
+ 33 (0)1 44 78 12 33 Press officer Aurélien Lemonier
métro Dorothée Mireux
Hôtel de Ville, Rambuteau +33 (0) 1 44 78 46 60 exhibition design
Laurence Fontaine
Opening SAÂDANE AFIF
every day ex. Tuesday PRIX MARCEL DUCHAMP 2009
11 am - 9 pm 15 SEPTEMBER 2010-
late opening Thursday to 11 pm 3 JANUARY 2011
Press officer
Admission Dorothée Mireux
¤10 - ¤12 depending on time +33 (0) 44 78 46 60
concessions ¤8 - ¤9
Valid the same day for one entry ARMAN
each to the Museum and to all 22 SEPTEMBER 2010-
exhibitions 10 JANUARY 2011
Free to holders of the annual pass Press officer
Céline Janvier
Multimedia audio-guide +33 (0) 44 78 49 87
A 45-minute guided tour
of the exhibition available in four L’AVENTURE DES OBJETS
languages: French, English, UNE EXPOSITION-ATELIER
Spanish and Italian; together AUTOUR D’ARMAN
with tours of the permanent 22 SEPTEMBER 2010-
collection and of the architecture 17 JANUARY 2011
of the building. Press officer
Cost ¤5, concessions ¤4 Céline Janvier
+33 (0) 44 78 49 87
Information
+ 33 (0) 1 44 78 14 63 NANCY SPERO
13 OCTOBER 2010-
Buy ticket on line and 10 JANUARY 2011
print at home at Press officer
www.centrepompidou.fr Sébastien Gravier
+33 (0) 44 78 48 56

JEAN-MICHEL OTHONIEL
23 FEBRUARY - 23 MAY 2011
Press officer
Céline Janvier
+33 (0) 44 78 49 87

FRANÇOIS MORELLET
2 MARCH - 4 JULY 2011
Press officer
Dorothée Mireux
+33 (0) 44 78 46 60