PRESENTATION

DE STIJL AT THE STEDELIJK

3 DEC 2016 – 27 NOV 2017

What does the work of Isa Genzken have in common with De Stijl? And what connects Bas Jan Ader, or the iconic Lichtenstein in the Stedelijk collection, to De Stijl? This presentation examines different facets such as use of colour, the diagonal, purity, architecture and the dissemination of the movement. Works of De Stijl that powerfully convey this ideology are juxtaposed with work by post-war artists. De Stijl was clearly an inexorable certainty for successive generations. Some artists offer an inspired ode; others explore what De Stijl means today. In the 1990s, for instance, General Idea parodied the dominance of De Stijl in their work affected Mondrian.

De Stijl and the Stedelijk

The inaugural issue of the magazine De Stijl in October 1917. The journal provided the artists, designers and architects with a platform for their pioneering ideas: by radically redefining art they hoped to create a world of total harmony, and to unify art and life. De Stijl’s theories of colour and space led to a revolutionary language of pure abstraction intended to express that harmony.

The Stedelijk Museum acquired a large collection of work by De Stijl and, by staging several key exhibitions, including a major survey in 1951 curated by former director Willem Sandberg that travelled to MoMA in New York, was the impetus behind the international recognition of the movement. Although disbanded in 1931, De Stijl is no less influential today, embraced by artists, designers and architects as an inspiration, or rejected as an inexorable certainty.

Gerrit Rietveld, Red and Blue Chair, 1919. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Bas Jan Ader, Bas Jan Ader, 1971. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Theo van Doesburg, Counter-Composition V, 1924. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam