“De Stijl 1917-1922 and Its Movement in: Painting — Architecture — Sculpture — Monumental Art — Music — Literature — Anti-Philosophy — Mechanism — Objects-Dance” (1922)
Translated from the Dutch by Hans L.C. Jaffé.
In De Stijl. (H.N. Abrams. New York:1971).
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De Stijl arose from a general need to defend and explain a new mode of plasticism opposed to all formal art.
Formal art: all art which gives expression in geometrical forms and forms derived from nature; in short, in closed form.
New plasticism: the art which replaces form by the characteristic means of expression of every kind of art and so abolishes all duality.
The new plasticism opposes modern art in all its variations, but recognizes that it is the purest and perhaps the only logical outcome of this art — in particular — of Cubism.
Only through this outcome was it possible to establish universal values as a general basis for all the arts. The power of the new plasticism resides in this ‘possibility of extension.’
Although various artists in different countries have worked consciously and unconsciously at the new means of plastic expression, the painter Piet Mondrian was the first to arrive, in about the year 1913, at the realism of the new plasticism as painting, through the consistent following through of Cubism. This act, which earned the appreciation of the youngest generation of Dutch artists,1 aroused in the most consistent artists confidence in the possibility of a new mode of plasticism. Both through the work and the formulation they became fully conscious of the positive value and the potentialities for development of the new plasticism.
Thus De Stijl, which greets in Mondrian the father of the new plasticism, became the collective confession of an a-national and a-individualistic (and in its furthest reaching consequences — collective) force of expression.
[From De Stijl, Vol. V, No. 12, pp. 177-178]