Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents Blue, Turning Grey over You, the third solo-show by Johannes Schwartz (1970, München) with the gallery.
The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Dutch avant-garde movement De Stijl. For his new works, Schwartz was inspired by original photo albums of De Stijls most prominent member, Piet Mondriaan, that he found at the RKD (Dutch Institute for Art History). These photo albums were designed by Mondriaan in order to show his works to a broader audience. They encompass black and white reproductions (the only available medium at that time) of his paintings, each accompanied by the list of colors in which they were painted.
Schwartz found the fact that the viewer had to re-imagine the colors fascinating, given the importance of the composition for Mondriaan. Taking a closer look, one will discover that in the series Horizon, Schwartz digitally manipulated Mondriaan’s paintings by drawing a line in the middle of each of them, creating a horizon. The work undermines Mondriaan’s strive for the ultimate image and questions the functionality of the photographic reproduction. With his works Schwartz researches, in line with Mondriaan, the possibilities of reproduction with new modern day techniques.
Music, jazz in particular, played an important part in Mondriaan’s life and artistic practice. It appears that the painter repeatedly turned toward new music, giving away old records once he was done with them. Schwartz photographed the collection of discarded records and arranged them in collages, creating a caleidoscope of inspirations that can no longer be traced.
For Tafel #1 Schwartz reproduced Mondriaan’s personal address book in negative. As a ‘Who is Who’ of modernism, it works as a blueprint of the painter’s artistic environment. It is accompanied by a sound installation in which the names are read out loud, taking you back in time.
With his new show Schwartz manages to express that what is absent can speak as much to your imagination as what is in front of you. The creative process is completed and personalized in the viewers’ mind. The Mondriaan we see might be something quite different than what the painter saw himself.