Theo van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde

Theo van Doesburg was one of the leading figures in the development of geometric abstraction, founder of the De Stijl group and editor of the magazine of the same name. He developed contacts with such artists as Bart van der Leck, Anthony Kok, Vilmos Huszar and J.J.P. Oud, becoming a sounding board and transmitter of their shared desire to construct a new world. De Stijl took their artistic philosophy from neoplasticism, or Nieuwe Beelding in Dutch. They advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour, with compositions limited to vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white.

On Friday 5th February 2010 I reported on my visit to the Tate Modern to see Van Doesburg & the International Avant-Garde: Constructing a New World. I communicated my responses to the exhibition in real-time via my Twitter page using the application Tweetdeck on my iPhone. I am interested in increasing the speed with which writers and journalists report on visual art, with the Tate’s exhibition an intriguing subject due to the static nature of its curation. The space is constructed in a traditional A to B format and I would argue this is not sympathetic to the way contemporary viewers experience visual art spaces. We are so used to dipping in and out of content such a linear format is not in keeping with our increased sensory activities. This is the first of a series of live reviews I will be conducting both here on WordPress and on my Twitter page. Keep checking back for updates.

What follows is the full list of tweets from my visit:

…but the collaborative nature of contemporary nomadic art practices. A must see. Over and out.
about 23 hours ago from TweetDeck

Great exhibition,if only for historical relevance and impact of Van Doesburg’s concepts.Anticipated not only conceptualism…
about 23 hours ago from TweetDeck

‘Work of art must be entirely designed and formed prior to execution’. Pretty much anticipated conceptualism there then…
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Onto the last room, Art Concret.Called for universal art composed of planes and colours executed crisply and mechanically.All about the math
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Do you think he would be a fan of Twitter?!
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

One can only imagine what sort of art Van Doesburg would be making today. How would collaboration inform his practice now?
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Find Hans Richter’s Rhythmus 21 really powerful. Seems to capture unity between anarchic Dadaism and more ordered De Stijl.
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Are we approaching a synthesis of historical moments and knowledge instead?
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Documents Doesburg’s ambition for an international visual language that could be applied across different disciplines.Have we achieved this?
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Room 7: New Visions…easily most interesting room so far.
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Van Doesburg used the pseudonym IK Bonset for his Dada writings – do all artists adopt a certain persona when they work?
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

On to room 6: Dada and Constructivism…
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Not too keen on the De Stijl typography in Room 5…think I’ll stick with Times New Roman
about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

Perhaps Van Doesburg’s legacy is not his Neo-Plasticism or De Stijl but the multifaceted nature of his overall practice
2:35 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

In a world where we are so used to navigating with immediacy our surroundings do exhibitions need a clear start and end point?
2:34 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Great quote from Mondrian in room 3.”The artist no longer needs a starting point in nature in order to achieve an image of beauty.”
2:32 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Not too keen on the Kandinsky-inspired earlier work…seem to lack the potentiality so abundant in Van Doesburg’s writing
2:31 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Amazing how Van Doesburg foreshadowed contemporary nomadic artistic practices
2:29 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Exhibition aims to explore his role within the international avant-garde through his work as an artist, designer, writer and editor…
2:28 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Little bit of background, leading figure in geometric abstraction, founder of the De Stijl group, mates with Mondrian…
2:21 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Ok here I go…will be updating my responses and thoughts on Van Doesburg & the Avant-Garde live over the next hour or so…
2:01 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

Tune in at 2pm for my live review of Van Doesburg & International Avant-Garde from the Tate Modern
1:09 PM Feb 5th from TweetDeck

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