Mondrian secrets by Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas
I felt a sudden burst of nostalgia when this work first caught my eye. It is pretty clear why; this assemblage piece is mainly made out of toys, which are easily connected to the idea of childhood. The work is very colourful, but all the colours are slightly faded. I do not know if this is because of the age of the work, or if he used these slightly faded colours on purpose. Maybe it was the light. We will never know, because I cannot find any information about this work.
The work consists of tiny plastic objects, which are partly covered by an orange layer of more plastic material. Two donut-shaped objects are attached to the orange layer. The orange layer reminds me a lot of a life vest. This life vest association gives this layer another layer of (probably unintentional) meaning. The whole assemblage is attached to a piece of wood, which makes it look more like a painting then like an installation. The Stedelijk museum apparently thinks the same, because the work is classified as a painting.
The toys are put in order by their colour, which makes the work almost satisfying to look at. I start to wonder what kind of objects are hidden underneath the parts that are covered. Where did the artist get these objects from and why did he choose these specific objects? The work reminds me a lot of a dream I used to have as a child; a swimming pool completely filled with toys. I realize that this is the main reason why the work is interesting for me, and why it made me feel nostalgic.
After making up all these associations I looked at the name of the piece. The piece is called Mondrian Secret. And suddenly, the whole work changed. The orange layer is the painting, and the toys are the secret insides of a Mondrian painting. A work that we associate with mathematical precision hides a layer of playful, colourful plastic toys. The surface of the painting is supposed to represent something that hides the “true nature” of the painting. A layer of plastic, colourful toys organized in order of the rainbow colours. Put together with the same precision as Mondrian painted.