Art | ISSUE II
MONDRIAN, DE STIJL, AND THE DUTCH ARTISTIC TRADITION, MADRID
By Astrid Peeters
This unique exposition is the premier opener to a series of temporary exhibitions organized by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Under the title of Exchanging Gazes, the active exhibition celebrates the museum’s 20th anniversary. The exhibition 'Mondrian, De Stijl and the Dutch artistic tradition' was announced as a visual dialogue between a few masterpieces of the Dutch golden age (17th century) and the paintings of Piet Mondrian (7 March 1872) and his companions from the De Stijl movement, Theo van Doesburg (30 August 1883) and Bart van der Leck (26 November 1876).
Installations such as these have proven their success in the past. But while this was a free exhibition, it was disappointing that only seven works were on exhibit, all of which were from the museums permanent collection. Personally, I've never been a staunch advocate of such installations, because sometimes it is very easy for the curators to mirror the public however they want.
In a somewhat smaller room, you were mostly on your own to link and to compare (except if you read the little bilingual brochure of course, understandable for ‘outsiders’). At first glance all paintings look like as it were windows to the outside world. But, in fact they are well thought out geometric organized surfaces.
The purpose of this exhibition was to bring two art periods in equation with each other. And despite the small number of works, they have certainly succeeded (especially when a little Spanish seven-year-old, standing next to me, started to make comparisons herself).
It would be nice if curators give visitors more often the opportunity to expand their horizons in such a way, people would all think more deeply while standing in front of ‘yet another’ piece of art.
And all those traveling to Madrid, you should definitely take a look at the lesser-known Fundación Mapfre, as this foundation has regular free exhibitions of intriguing and well-known artists.
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Astrid Peeters, a Belgian PR student with a background in art history. She studies in Antwerp, Belgium’s unofficial fashion capital and tries to visit as many exhibitions as possible around the world.