Nico Franz

1981 Cottbus, DE

Moving Piet, 2014

Animation on Aftereffects

Moving Piet, 2014

Image description

Three equally high, narrow black horizontal lines and three equally wide black vertical lines are shown on a white background. the horizontal and vertical lines extend over the entire height and width of the painting, respectively. An exception is a horizontal line in the lower left corner that extends from the left edge to the second vertical line. In total, then, there are seven black lines.

Areas resulting from the spaces between the intersections of the black lines are partially painted in the primary colors red, yellow and blue. Areas of color in the same hue are arranged directly next to each other. The areas of the three primary colors are positioned in different corners of the painting. A total of 4 red, 2 blue and 2 yellow areas have been created, for a total of eight. The two yellow areas are positioned side by side in the upper left corner, the two blue ones one above the other in the upper right corner and the four red ones in a 2*2 matrix in the lower left corner.

The display has been smoothed in color and shape compared to the original. Original color differences due to the brush application were not taken over, likewise the edges of the lines were straightened. In addition, the painting was tilted 90 degrees to the left. The external dimensions were adjusted to a 16:9 format, which slightly changed the original numerical ratios of the spacing of the black lines compared to those of the original.

Image interpretation

The original painting is attributed in contemporary art scholarship to Piet Mondrian. It is now lost and is said to have borne the title "Untitled". The year of its creation is unknown.

The Stuttgart copyist Nico Franz took up the question of whether Piet Mondrian could not have made a mistake in this work, in which he disregarded the compelling symmetry by the selection of the number of surfaces. In other words, whether he did not erroneously assume the positioning of the lines as a condition for the resulting surfaces instead of the positioning of the surfaces as a condition for the lines.

In his work "Moving Piet" (2014), Nico Franz amusingly resolves this question in a visual process that first of all transforms the chaos caused by Mondrian compositional theory into the lost order that the latter opposed, and then shows first the alternative and finally also the final representation of each composition: namely, the movement itself as the highest goal.

Here he does not shy away from developing the 2Dimensionality of Mondrian's painting further and transferring it into 3D space, in order to make this highest goal, obviously unintended by Mondrian, evident, the movement as a catharsis of solidified structures. By virtue of the accompanying composition, this intention is further reinforced, thereby clarifying the basic message of this early copyist masterpiece as an expression of its medium: the viewer seeking knowledge errs immanently and can only liberate himself through his model.

The copyist's liberation, on the other hand, lay in the creative process itself. Since the essence of art is not consumption, this process alone was his intention. Where others, in this process and thereafter, more radically and certainly more sublimely separate themselves from their audience, Nico Franz is much more concerned to acknowledge himself as part of his audience and thus also as a consumer. If only for a short time.