To continue from my previous remarks: all the possible variations I experimented with during my research did not, I believe, in any way alter the harmony of the original work.
This result might well appear trivial and predictable, but in fact it reveals something more profound.
I had not intended to prove anything in particular in carrying out this research. My sole aim was to try to reach a deeper understanding of Mondrian’s art, sustaining that unknown force which had driven me to enter this world and absorb its essential nature.
Mondrian went very far in his work, even too far (according to Fernand Léger), perhaps beyond the bounds of human perception; making himself almost unreachable. He achieved levels of abstraction so pure and unique that they lifted the abstract onto a plane which can well seem esoteric and intangible: a plane only comprehensible to minds and spirits in tune with his own.
In my own humble situation, and for the purposes of this study, I have found it necessary to bring his work down to more material and approachable levels to endow them with a form which is comprehensible to my mind.
My hope is that whatever emerges from this research might be of some assistance to all those who fall outside that elite circle of individuals who are able to appreciate Mondrian’s work full. Therefore, as I am not blessed with that complete understanding, I decided to follow the route in reverse, examining and reintroducing all those components which Mondrian himself eliminated when he stripped down reality to achieve the essence of abstraction. He said: “…I want to get as near as possible to the truth and to abstract everything from it, until I reach the basis (even if just the external basis) of things…”
This brilliant intuition led him to achieve such a deep synthesis as to propel him far away, into an almost celestial sphere: a realm which ordinary man is perhaps unable to understand.
Unwittingly, I found myself examining his work without ever having documented it or studied his art. I produced hundreds of drawings, driven on by an unstoppable desire, eager to discover what lay within or behind it. Only afterwards did I try to understand what I was doing, and so carried out a retrospective analysis, starting from the result and working back to the origins of it all to give some sense to my research. Unknowingly, and purely by instinct, I discovered I had performed a series of steps that “added”, and which precisely mimicked those made by Mondrian when he wished to “take away”.
I attempted in some way to import his works into a terrain more familiar to me, transposing them into my own reality, my own world: which I have always described as an “alternative reality”. It is not a different way of seeing the reality known to man, but rather a matter of living in a place under different spatial and temporal conditions, in a parallel world. So I did not examine Mondrian’s works from the perspective of this world, but transposed them into another cosmic dimension, which probably exists within me, to view them with other eyes.
Thus I found myself giving them a sort of three-dimensional form, and putting in all those spatial elements that Mondrian had sought to eliminate. Or else, I created distortions, adding curved lines to Mondrian’s inflexible grid. Yet again, I turned over the original work to explore its reverse, the hidden side, almost as if I wanted to spy on that hidden corner of Mondrian’s mind which even he perhaps would not wish to examine. Therefore, in this process of reversal, even the colours underwent a transformation, becoming the opposite of primary colours.
They say that what we hate most is just the reflected image of something innate in us that we cannot accept. And so red turned to green, a colour much hated by Mondrian: another element that led me to believe that I was probing the inner mind of this genius.
Why at first did Mondrian enjoy confronting reality, with his Dutch landscapes and natural scenes, and then later come to hate trees and to reject the colour green? What triggered the profound kenosis that he underwent at a certain point, which saw the death of that particular man and artist and the rebirth of its exact opposite?
There is another aspect which intrigued me, and which I discovered and understood only later, and in relation to the forms of distortion I experimented with. I was greatly struck by a sort of polarity in the life of Mondrian, rather like a double personality, oscillating between his isolated existence in the studio and his social life; between straight lines and arabesques; between works stripped of any frills, pure, basic, inflexible grids like cages, and a love of jazz, the Charleston and the boogie-woogie: tunes and harmonies rich in variation, contortion, syncopation, dissonance and joy.
And so, without realising it, I found myself adding certain distortions to his works and was astonished to see harmonious, joyful, dancing forms appearing. In some cases they seemed to hover like musical notes and in others they were more similar to floral arrangements.
In conclusion, during this process of study and research, intended as an analysis of his output including abstraction, I found that I was, instead, discovering and getting to know the “other” Mondriaan.