Blackpaint 61


Reading about the above after the Van Doesburg et al exhibition yesterday, I find that, for a period around 1929, he was cutting his black dividing lines off just before they reached the edge – so as not to foster the notion of their continuance into the Beyond (i.e. beyond the canvas).  Unfortunately, the illustration in the Taschen “Abstract Art”, of Mondrian’s “Composition No II.  Composition with Blue and Red”, must be badly cropped since the black lines definitely do reach the edges.  You would have thought they’d check – still the repros are beautiful for about seven quid.


I may have given the impression by my ceaseless and tiresome habit of irony that I disapprove of the sort of fanatical zeal shown by Mondrian in support of the four-square against the diagonal tilt.  This is not the case; art movements should be fanatical.  They should produce fierce manifestos, making grandiose and sweeping statements; they should have rows and splits, refuse to speak for years, occasionally, perhaps, visit violence upon one another.  They should be prepared to provoke  fury, ridicule and incomprehension.  That’s what moves art forward and that’s what provides the bedrock range of work that predatory individuals can sieze on and “adapt” (cannibalize) for their own ends – unlike myself, of course.

Last word on Mondrian and Van Doesburg – it should have been the absence of green, not the ubiquity of white, that I looked for yesterday.  Mondrian famously avoided using it because it wasn’t a primary colour – but, apart from the very earliest paintings, VD’s “Cow”, and the little collages of Rinsema and, I think, Schwitters – and the stained glass – not a lot of green about.

Listening to “Hey Hey”, by Big Bill Broonzy

“Hey hey, lost your good man now (*2)

You had me fooled but I found it out somehow”.

Rudimentary words, but the most driving guitar accompaniment in the history of recording (apart, maybe, from some Reinhardt).

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