Friday, 27 June 2014

Mondrian and his Studios - Nasreen Mohamedi, Tate Liverpool

Within the recreation of Piet Mondrian’s studio there is an object from which can be expanded the concepts behind Tate Liverpool’s latest blockbuster exhibition as well as holding a key to the work of Mondrian. Within the set Mondrian’ studio is the model of a set, a version of a world drawn from the one that surrounds it, filtered through Mondrian’s experiences of the world into those famous, lines, grids and block colours.
Rather than being redundant reproduction both simulations point to the how Mondrian was world building. Recreating the movement and rhythm of the world he lived in, refining them, reforming them into a representation of what he called ‘dynamic equilibrium’. Through the use of those lines and block colours Mondrian painting create a sense that life is modular, a series of interchangeable pieces that can be fit together like Lego.

Like those colourful blocks the painting present a malleable world, his plastic world which is constantly rearranging, changing. Evidence of the near infinite possibilities that exist within this continuum. Sometimes the paintings appear to be like a series of architects drawings being constantly reworked and redrawn to match the ever changing whims of unknown inhabitants. I can also see a connection between Mondrian and Sol Le Witt’s Variations of Incomplete Cubes.

Mostly the paintings create a rhythm, a musicality Mondrian was influence by the modern sounds of Jazz and Boogie-Woogie. Though passing through the exhibition I have the sensation that they are pounding out the looser form of Free Jazz.  A piece like Composition in Colour B (1917) can also be read as a diagram about the movement of sound through a given space.

Being in this exhibition, being within the imaginative space of Mondrian’s work reminds us that there is still a relevance to his work, despite its near Mona Lisa like reproduction, especially within this increasing plastic world.

Moving from the familiar to the unknown (well at least to me) running in parallel to Mondrian and his Studio is an exhibition of work by Narseen Mohamedi. An artist who, like Mondrian was attempting to transcribe the world. This was conducted through a series of linear ink drawings that hover between abstraction and conceptualism.

These beautiful and often delicate drawings produce a sense of the rhythms of life. Of the movement of tides, patterns that seem chaotic and yet ordered. Though they are composed by simple lines they are hard to describe, they are of a nature observed and transcribed. It’s no wonder that she recorded through photography the natural action of the ripples marked in the sand after the sea has shrunk from the land.
It’s as if these drawings are her attempt to document the ephemeral nature of our passage through time and space. Though use of lines and pressure Mohamedi creates image that apprear diagrammatic and yet give of a sense of energy and for this viewer a synaesthesia like feeling. Each drawing fizzes, buzzes, no surprise when I read in the booklet ‘Extensions of vibrations and sensitive cross vibrations’.

These almost musical sensations giving off by both artists’ works also strengthens the connections between Mohamedi and Mondrian and makes the exhibition feel dynamic. You may of guessed that I have enjoyed this exhibition, even been excited by it, it is an exhibition that you can experience and discover and rediscover a duo of artists whose work is alive and relevant.

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