Less is more
07 Mar 2016

Less is more

07 Mar 2016

“In past times when one lived in contact with nature, abstraction was easy; it was done unconsciously. Now in our denaturalized age, abstraction becomes an effort.”
Piet Mondrian

Welcome to a new “section” of Blogologie: Icons.

Ever since I started planning the Atelier, I knew I wanted to write about the people that inspire me. We all have someone we look up to, someone whose work or activity makes us want to be like them. So this new section is devoted to them. My icons.

Just so you know, I will be writing about people from very different backgrounds and creative fields, from art to fashion, literature, design… as long as they inspire me and influence me in any way. And, for the most cases, I’ll do it on the day they were born, because happy birthday to them.

The first one is one of the greatest painters of the 20th Century, the very essence of the De Stijl movement: Piet Mondrian.

image

Tableau I by Piet Mondrian. 1921. Oil on canvas. 103 × 100 cm. The Hague, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Wikimedia Commons.

I’m not gonna bore you with facts that most probably you already know. Instead, I’ll share with you why I love his work, and most importantly, his ideas.

Mondrian is one of those people whose genius goes far beyond his art. What truly makes him great is his way of seeing the world. He aimed for a spiritual existence rather than a material one, and that’s why he devoted the peak of his career to abstract art:

“To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual.”

Get to the core of things. Extract their essence. Go back to basics.

Go back to basics. We hear that over and over nowadays. It’s been repeated so tirelessly that it already sounds empty, but it truly is a beautiful statement.

I’ve always thought the “Less is more” philosophy is one of the pillars of design. Good design doesn’t need baroque decorations, it is simple and straight forward. And in that sense, it seems to me that it means the same as going back to basics.

And not just regarding design… I think we’d all live better if the world worked based on the “less is more” ideal. I’m not saying we all become ascetic and throw away all civilization, but we could certainly optimize our resources.

Optimize.

Yes, that’s it. We could optimize our lives and the way we relate to the world. We could be productive without being stressed, make life easier without polluting the Earth, live a blissful existence and not die trying.

We could lead simpler, happier lives. Just as a Mondrian painting.

Photo: Composition A by Piet Mondrian. 1920. Oil on canvas. 90 × 91 cm. Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. Wikimedia Commons.

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