I popped along to the Tate Modern at the weekend to catch the new exhibition, Van Doesburg and The International Avant Garde. For those familiar with Piet Modrian's primary coloured 'Neo-Plasticism' paintings, there was much to see that was familiar. However, by the same token, there was plenty to keep you on your toes.
Van Doesburg was the founder of the De Stijl group (and editor of the magazine by the same name) which counted Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld and others of similar reductivist approach within it. His taste was somewhat more wide ranging than his cohorts though, leading to disagreements and eventual split. He was very much a modern thinker in a way more sophisticated than just through a single chosen medium or aesthetic. He had realised that all different kinds of productivity were beginning to converge, and that not only the realms of high arts (painting, sculpture, architecture) should be encompassed within his investigations, but also the worlds of magazines, photography, and, increasingly, typography and graphic design. Here we can see the foundations for later work by Ed Ruscha as well as the pop artists who eventually completed the circle by feeding the seemingly banal back into art.
It's a good exhibition, drawing in work by a number of artists and thinkers to help build the story including Modrian, Oud and a number of Dada-ist and Constructivist works some of which he produced himself under the pseudonym I.K. Bonset.
Ten quids to non-members, until the 16th of May.