"Pure abstract art becomes completely emancipated, free of naturalistic appearances." — Piet Mondrian, 1929
produced by: Yanyi Lu
This projection mapping artwork gets inspiration from Mondrian’s 2D abstract art and explores further a possible form of 3D abstract art by unbiased computer programming.
Concept and background research
Mondrian named his style as Neo-plasticism, which presents a new abstract representation of 3-dimension real life. He believed this new abstraction can be a universal graphical language to reveal dynamic and evolutionary forces of human, nature and even whole universe (Chadwick, 2016). One of the most famous paintings is the composition of red, blue, and yellow rectangles with black outlines. He emphasized the balance and harmony of contracts, opposites and asymmetry, and found out a neither too static nor too dynamic way, asymmetrical arrangements of geometric shape in primary colors, to present his universal abstraction.
Based on these, I got an inspiration of my project. What will the universal abstraction be if the pattern can be generated automatically by computer programming unbiasedly? Mondrian’s balanced 2D abstractive composition is derived from 3D real life world, and then what will happen if I project dynamic balanced Mondrian patterns on a 3D object?
I chose staircase as the projection model because the square shape of stair conforms to the elements in Mondrian's famous paintings and the sense of gradient of the staircase leaves space for more interesting dynamic display of this artwork.
Software: Openframeworks + addon: ofxGui, ofxJSON, ofxPiMapper, ofxXmlSetting
Model: cardboard (190 * 285 * 285mm)
Key color: red (239, 28, 35), yellow (255,239,1), blue (49,57,152), white and black
Key algorithm: Perlin noise, sin/cos, ofRandom(color[i]), modulo …
This is a Mondrian-style three-dimensional abstract work. There are five scenes in total.
1. A ball jumps from the bottom to top of staircase. The ball is projected at the side wall which supports the staircase (prelude)
2. A group of bars jump in sin wave (bedding)
3. Composition pattern of red, yellow and blue blocks is generated automatically in staircase (main body1)
4. Texts of ‘Mondrian’ and ‘stairs’ slide in the model (main body2)
5. Decomposition of Mondrian style blocks fall in the stairs (highlight)
In the future, I will possibly consider making the stairs bigger and stronger by wood so that the audience can sit or step on the stairs. Moreover, some interactive elements like motion capture can be added, so the projected texture will change with the movements or emotions of participating audience. The addition of interactive elements could not only improve audience’s experience but also better reflect the theme of this project - abstracting the universal ‘3D’ pattern from the real world.
All in all, the final work effect achieved my expectation. Two things could be improved in the future after this exhibition. Due to the color of model was light brown, the white pattern became not so clearly white when it was projected. In addition, the staircase was placed beside a black curtain which caused less clear picture of the simulated balls jumping in the staircase at the beginning scene of the projection mapping.
Mondrian, P. (1929). “Pure Abstract Art” in The New Art—The New Life: The Collected Writings of Piet Mondrian, edited and translated by Harry Holtzman and Martin S. James (Boston: G.K. Hall& Co.), p. 224.
Chadwick, S. (2016). “Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow.” Available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/later-europe-and-americas/modernity-ap/a/mondrian-composition [accessed on: 29 Jan 2020]
Background audio in the video ‘Mondrian’s staircase’ is from Enigma by KV. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8a77Fs1ctI&list=PLzCxunOM5WFIBEfixsIWyqPpaABQ5S8HD&index=68