Audio transcript

Piet Mondrian 'Composition with Grey, Red, Yellow and Blue'

Narrator: The writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer responds to the work of Piet Mondrian.

Whenever I look at this Mondrian I'm reminded of the 'Sixties when I grew up and first of all of the clothes, because the older girls were wearing these wonderful white shift dresses that had Mondrian designs on them and I was still stuck in a school uniform. I used to just love looking at the colours and looking at them in the colours. But I think also, the more I've come to appreciate Mondrian, I suppose I do understand now why he may have been unconsciously chosen. His philosophy at the time of this painting theosophy one of its ideas was the idea of difference but equality and that really fitted in with what the 'Sixties was about. It was about the Civil Rights Movement, which was about equality and the respect of difference. It was also, I think, about the whole idea of young people, my generation, the baby-boomers, really demanding that society look at the whole of itself, as a mosaic, as a fabric of many colours. And that we learn to respect one another and come together in that way. So, this painting for me is very much about that particular time, that striving for equality, that striving for a kind of balance, and also, in a way, moving out of the conventional ideas of painting as representation and of life as having to represent something else, but to be pure and to be what it was and what it is. And that's why I really love this painting very much. It really moves me in a way.