Piet Mondrian inspires an Origami Cube

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch painter regarded as one of the pioneers of abstract art and best known for compositions of geometric shapes and primary colors. Mondrian’s early work was influenced by post-impressionism and cubism.

As his art evolved, Mondrian moved increasingly toward abstraction stripping away all representational elements leaving only the fundamental building blocks of form and color: red, blue, yellow, and the non-colors white, black, and gray.

Color and form were the abstract essential elements Mondrian considered a pure universal language with color representing the three primary aspects of existence: Yellow as matter, Red as spirit, and Blue as consciousness.

One of Mondrian’s most famous works, “Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow” (1930) is an example of his mature style featuring a simple arrangement of primary colors and geometric shapes.

The canvas is divided by thick black vertical and horizontal lines, in a grid-like structure, within which Mondrian placed rectangular blocks of red, blue, yellow, white, and gray. The composition is carefully balanced.

Each color and shape is carefully placed, relative to the other shapes and colors to create harmony and equilibrium to express those universal truths as he saw them.

Form also played a significant role in Mondrian’s creative philosophy. For example, Mondrian often used the cube to create a sense of balance, harmony, and universal order in his two-dimensional paintings.

By breaking down the cube into its constituent planes and lines he believed he could create compositions that expressed the underlying structure of reality. This idea can be seen represented in Mondrian’s grid-based compositions where vertical and horizontal lines can be perceived as a flattened representation of the edges of a cube.

Distilling the cube to its essence, Mondrian added another grammatical element to the expression of his universal language in form, and of an effort to transcend the limitations of the the physical world.

Piet Mondrian’s innovative approach to color and form has influenced painters and inspired artists working in other media such as UK Origami creator David Mitchel who adopted Piet Mondrian’s creative philosophy when designing his origami model, the Mondrian cube. David’s model demonstrates quiet elegance and mathematical beauty using three or five colors of any color combination.

This origami model is a fine example of the cross-pollination of ideas among different modes of artistic expression allowing us to appreciate, in an engaged and practical fashion, the significance of Piet Mondrian’s philosophy which we can also incorporate into our origami practice.

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2 thoughts on “Piet Mondrian inspires an Origami Cube”

  1. Very interesting, thank you. I have folded a cube ( from a $ USD) but this looks to be very intriguing.

    I enjoy learning new origami techniques so I look forward to working on this particular model.


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