Achso, Mondriaan.

I went on sunday to S.M.A.K. (the museum of actuel art in Gent) to see the exhibition XANADU!, Hans Theys was curating some pieces of the museum. No tags on the wall, small numbers written by hands directly on the wall, journal with large sheets distributed at the entrance, in which was featured a list of numbers which purposely did not always match the ones on the wall. The exhibition was presented as a walk through the eye of Hans Theys sharing his experiences and views from his personal encounters with the artists.

Paintings were moderately represented. I passed by quickly in the rooms, saw the works of Raoul de Keyser and Walter Swennen. Bof, my “expert” eye thought.

Reading the journal while strolling in the museum, a brief comment on Mondriaan  stoke me. I have learned during my long academic classes the whole story on perspective and colours. Some colours naturally come forward, some backward, which created perspective and depth in painting. We know that when we apply red we have to be careful if we meant it to be in the background, as it would naturally come forward.

Before Cezanne, painters strived to render the volume of objects. A apple had to be depicted as a round object. However,  Mondriaan tried to make a flat painting. However he faced the challenge that blue tends to recede in the back and red tend to come to the front.

Of course that was obvious. This shows how observing at art and knowing about art gives you a completely different experience. Much more enjoyable. So now, I turned back to Swemmen and realised what Hans Theys meant.

Walter Swennen, Leeuw, 2007


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