January 29, 2009
Gregory Schufreider in his Mondrian's Opening: The Space of Painting, delivered at the After Postmodernism Conference argues that Mondrian's late work:
opened a new space for painting by exposing what I have, rather ambiguously, referred to in my title as the space of painting. For by the latter I mean to indicate both the space that belongs to painting as well as the space to which painting belongs. My thesis is that Mondrian extended the space of painting, first, as a space within painting in his destruction of the traditional space of representational illusion in the breakthrough to geometrical abstraction. This extension, however, did not stop with the development of an abstract space in its reduction of painting to the picture plane and its pure means of production. Instead, working in the space of abstract painting eventually revealed a new space for painting, opening up the space between the work and the wall as its true space, that is, as the space to which painting itself belongs. This ambiguous space of painting, which spans the difference between the virtual and the real, is the space in which Mondrian came finally not just to work, but to live.
By the late work Schufreider means Broadway Boogie-Woogie and Victory Boogie-Woogie
Mondrian, Victory Boogie Woogie (unfinished), 1944
Schufreider says that erather than appearing as a static, independent, self-contained or merely self-relational element, the eccentric grid is now subjected to the compositional dynamics of appearance and disappearance that lend to it an essential vitality. In in Victory Boogie-Woogie the grid disintegrates as a separately identifiable, independently distinguishable structure of its own.