Tag Archives: holiday

De Stijl

aka neoplasticism. 

Having lived in Holland for 12 years, I was under the impression that I had a fair grasp on Dutch art history. I was familiar with names such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Mondrian from a young age; I even have a distinct memory of  making a collage in the style of Piet Mondrian during my  primary education. We had learned about his preference to use primary colours in his works: red, yellow and blue.

Last month, I was back in the Netherlands, revisiting memories and growing nostalgic over my town of birth. While I was there, I decided to visit the Gemeente Museum, where they have a continuous Piet Mondrian & De Stijl exhibit. I thought that this would help enhance what I already know on the artist and his style. Much to my surprise, I walked out of the exhibit thinking, ‘Wow, I knew almost absolutely nothing about this guy!’

Piet Mondrian was just one artist among several who were united under De Stijl, a school of art founded in the Netherlands circa 1917. The theory and practice of De Stijl group shook the foundations of modern art on an international scale.

As I previously mentioned, Piet Mondrian embraced painting in black, white, primary colours, and straight lines. His early works, which for the most part reflected reality as he perceived it, transformed gradually and became progressively abstract.  What influenced Mondrian the most was one of many avant-garde movements: cubism. Cubism was primarily characterized by the use of geometric shapes and a monochromatic use of colour. Although Mondrian’s early work is realistic, over time he becomes inspired by the cubist style and adopts his own style.

The school of art which is now recognized as De Stijl, was not only embraced by painters but also by sculptures, and architects. In fact, one of Holland’s most famous designers, Gerrit Rietveld, designed an armchair inspired by Mondrian and De Stijl. This design which has gained world-wide fame is known as Rood-Blauwe Stoel (translation: Red and Blue chair). 

I was also surprised to discover that there was another founding father of De Stijl movement: an artist named Theo van Doesburg. Doesburg was a man of many talents, practicing poetry, painting and architecture. Unlike Mondrian who’s version of this avant-garde movement was called neoplasticism, Doesburg preferred calling this movement elementarism, as it emphasized linear and geometric shapes with subtle shifts in tone and angle. This different perception of the style is perhaps what led to Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg’s split in 1924. Doesburg  believed that the power and importance of abstraction lay in the harmony which could be achieved by it. He also felt that despite elementarism being a simple and minimal approach, on a spiritual and moral level it is uplifting. This is particularly visible in his work, The Dancers.

It’s funny how you can live in a place for so long and think you know about its cultural background, but then years later you can turn back and realize that there are many gaps to fill in.


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Back from Portugal!

Hi everyone,
It’s been about a week now I think. As you may or may not know, I was away in Ericeira, Portugal which I believe is heaven on earth. I have never been to such a beautiful and friendly place. I loved it and in all honesty I am very sad to be back. Surfing is the best sport ever even though I’m not at all that good yet. I’m very keen to learn though… It’s amazing to get up on a board and ride a wave! My friends and I have already promised that we will go again next October and I think we will start making arrangements very, very soon.
You can catch a couple of snapshots of the place (and me) right here!

Hope you didn’t miss me too much!

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This is just so relevant as in less that 12 hours I will be checking in at the airport to fly to Portugal! Bring it on 🙂

P.S. Hope you like the tune!

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My teen crisis got in the way of me posting about my trip to London!
So, I got back yesterday morning, and as I had to get up ridiculously early after having done two days of non-stop running around I was super unproductive and did nothing but sleepwalk around the house. I guess that’s also what I owe the absence of this post to.
Anyway, we got there on Thursday night, and after taking a quick look at the public pianos in St. Pancras which my sister cannot stop talking about (and which admittedly are very cool) we headed to her teeny, tiny but cosy place. We woke up early the next morning to get a nice full day and my mum and I navigated ourselves around Hackney and then to Westfield in Stratford while my sister was busy at work. We ended the day with a nice meal at Jamie’s Italian – do go there if you haven’t already been; I had the tastiest pasta ever. Then came Saturday morning which we started off just as early and ended even later. We basically spent the entire day wondering around Oxford street which was fine until  we couldn’t feel the soles of our feet at which point we decided to go to a nice pub for some fish and chips.

The trip was short but great fun and a nice way to end my holidays too…
The downside was that we got home past midnight, packed, went to bed and had to get up at about 7 (which was only about 4 hours of sleep after 2 insanely active days) and hurry to catch our train back to Brussels.

Oh, and you wouldn’t believe it but just as we were checking in with our tickets guess who I saw in the queue beside us? Three people from the main cast of the series I was in for an episode. I have a feeling that my jaw dropped and I gawped at one of the girls for what was definitely longer than a second… it was too early and I was too tired to control myself. Hope she recognized me and didn’t take it the wrong way!

Here’s some photos from London!


On Regent street with my mum!IMAG1015


London 2013

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