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Finlay makes a visual pun between the black cross insignia of the Luftwaffe, the German air force during the Second World War, and the abstract paintings of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. In particular, this drawing is based on a series of works by Mondrian from 1914–15, entitled Jetty and Ocean. For Mondrian the balance of horizontal and vertical symbolised a mystical harmony. An opponent of the Nazis, Mondrian’s work was condemned as ‘degenerate’. As Germany threatened Europe, he realised that his life was in danger and fled to London and later New York.

July 2008