De Stijl Movement, a Art History Remix

One can see a long history of remix or mashup culture in relation to popular arts and Art History. Popular concepts from human works are constantly borrowed, reimagined, and remixed into new art forms in society today. The article, Remix: Practice, Content, Culture states, “remix suggest that a commemorative honouring of the past and of what we find meaningful in our common culture,” indicating some sort of admiring or respect is occurring.

Peit Mondrian, a Dutch Painter, founded the art movement De Stijl. De Stijl, which can also be referred to as Neoplasticism, is a style of art that uses “vertical and horizontal lines and rectangular shapes in black, white, gray, and primary colors” (Wikipedia). Mondrian is best known for his 1920s Composition A, that is an example of geometric abstraction. Composition A is said not to make reference to anything in particular, but convey a sense thought to the audience. The De Stijl style has been widely incorporated into architecture designs, the fashion industry, paintings and other works of art and has become an art movement.

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“Among the pioneering exponents of abstract art, De Stijl artists espoused a visual language consisting of precisely rendered geometric forms – usually straight lines, squares, and rectangles–and primary colors. Expressing the artists’ search “for the universal, as the individual was losing its significance,” this austere language was meant to reveal the laws governing the harmony of the world” (The Art Story).     

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One of the first remix examples of Mondrian’s work is the Rietveld Schröder House, which was built in 1924 for Mrs. Truus Schroder-Schrader and her children. The house uses the De Stijl style and apparently is the only ‘real’ example of De Stijl architecture. The house has since been put on the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site and is open to the public for viewing through The Central Museum. The Central Museum has the exhibition Rietveld’s Masterpiece: Long live De Stijl, going on currently. This exhibition displays other artists works in the De Stijl style. Since the erection of the Rietveld Schröder House, many other buildings, furniture, and fashion designs have been highly influenced by Mondrian’s De Stijl style.

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These remixed creations raise an important point surrounding the blurred lines between what “is considered a remix, and what is seen as a blatant copy,” as highlighted in Tattoos as a remix or creative plagiarism. The remixing of graphics and artistic methods falls into the same problematizations. While many artists twist or modify their reproductions by using different mediums; mashup cultures raises new questions surrounding authorship and ownership. Chere Harden Blair connects digital culture remixing to plagiarism and how “production equals authorship, and everyone and no one are authors at the same time” (Blair, 167). Therefore, in relation to the Rietveld Schröder House, to what extend does this or any new artistic creations owe an aspect of production to the original artist or author? Or should we consider these remixes complete originals and new pieces or art?

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