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Counter-composition, 2017

This fiction depicts a dialogue between the elementary, dynamic and asymmetrical architecture of Gerry Rietveld and the oblique surfaces of Theo Van Doesburg's simultaneous counter-composition painting (1929).

Built in Utrecht in 1924, Gerry Rietveld’s Schröder house was commissioned by Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder. The house has been recognised as one of the first symbols of the modern movement in architecture. This work by the Dutch architect is considered as a brilliant spatial translation of the Principles of neo-plastic art elaborated by the founders of the De Stijl group.

In 1917, Theo Van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and a few others created the magazine called De Stijl and founded the group of the same name. De Stijl invented a set of formal rules that would lead to a so-called universal representation, reducing painting to its elements: horizontal and vertical straight lines, plane surfaces, rectangles, and the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) combined with the neutrals (black, gray, and white).

Between 1917 and 1924, Van Doesburg (painter, poet, typographer, architect, writer ...) continues to respect these initial directives and confines himself to the exclusive use of the verticals and horizontals, then from 1924, he allows the inclusion of diagonals in his compositions, and repeatedly liberates himself from the rule of primary colours. This gave rise to a new pictorial tendency which the artist baptised "elementarism". Legend has it that Mondrian then moves away from the De Stijl movement, as the basic catechism has been transgressed.

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