100 YEARS OF De Stijl

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The 100 Years of De Stijl Exhibition at the Residence of the General Consul ofthe Netherlands in St. Petersburg



100 years of De Stijl

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The 100 Years of De Stijl Exhibition at the Residence of the General Consul ofthe Netherlands in St. Petersburg


A programme of exhibitions commemorating the centenary of the origins of De Stijl in Leiden (the Netherlands) has been launched worldwide throughout 2017. De Stijl emerged in 1917 and for the next 15 years, the members of the famous movement and society of artists (Theo van Dusburg, Pete Mondrian, Vilmos Huszár, Gerrit Rietveld, Bart van der Lek, etc.) developed and practiced the principles of the new art.
A programme of exhibitions commemorating the centenary of the origins of De Stijl in Leiden (the Netherlands) has been launched worldwide throughout 2017. De Stijl emerged in 1917 and for the next 15 years, the members of the famous movement and society of artists (Theo van Dusburg, Pete Mondrian, Vilmos Huszár, Gerrit Rietveld, Bart van der Lek, etc.) developed and practiced the principles of the new art.
The De Stijl Principle
As a modernist movement, De Stijl primarily saw its artistic output as the logical culmination of that which had gone before. It also predicted and anticipated the dissolution of art in certain broad spheres. For example, in the urban environment and everyday life. Further, a key aspect of De Stijl was that each artistic school underwent the process of "recognising" its own essence, true "nature" with all superfluous elements removed. The latter should ultimately lead to the creation of a new "universal plastic language" - neoplasticism.
Artists developed a single generative principle of working with form and colour in order to communicate in this new language. It involved just two operations - elementarisation and integration. This means that no element is more significant than another, and no element can avoid being integrated. The search for total integration urged artists to push the boundaries of what was considered a conventional image format. They then revolutionised painting as a whole. For example, Mondrian believed that architecture and painting share a common basic element, flatness (walls and paintings), and can thus be combined.
Maison Particulière
Theo van Doesburg. 1923
The Red and Blue Chair
Gerrit Rietveld. 1918
Café De Unie
Calandplein, Rotterdam. 1925
The Exhibition Concept
Our exhibition does not display reproductions and photographs of works by famous De Stijl artists. Rather, we tried to bring the principles of this movement to life. Inspired by the interiors of Mondrian, van Dusburg, Huszár and Rietveld, we cultivated the space using the visual art of neoplasticism in which, as van Dusburg stated, colour becomes a "constructive material". True to elementarisation, our flat composition literally protrudes into the space with its volumetric forms.
This design blurs the boundary between the two- and three-dimensional environment as much as possible. It also means the work can be perceived as a sculpture. This is precisely what makes it possible to achieve the effect of "isolating, limiting, and finding the proportion between unlimited space and man" that Rietveld considered so important. This contains the humanistic message of modernism in general and neoplasticism in particular: proportionality and closeness to man, rejection of elitism and inequality both in society and in art, and, finally, total inclusion.
Ultimately, the Residence's visitors may find themselves in a transformed space that clearly demonstrates the significance, value, and, most importantly, the relevance of the principles outlined by the De Stijl movement a century ago.
The project was brought to life by:

Composition and design
– Alyona Zakharetz

Curatorship – Kseniya Dyodorova, Aleksey Poleukhin

Idea and Text - Aleksey Poleukhin

Production — Mikhail Martianov

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