In 1980, Robert Motherwell wrote an account of Mondrian’s death, in extreme poverty, in New York during 1944. Motherwell, who had been present, narrated Mondrian’s delirious cursing of prominent museum officials and critics. This anecdote is part of the inspiration for Mondrian Fan Club, the latest in David Medalla’s series of mythic groupings and incarnations of work that stretches back to the early 60s.
In the pictures:
M, The letter “M” written in smoke above Mahanttan with Medalla and Nankervis invoking the spirit of Mondrian, 1994
Piet Mondrian’s Grave, Cypress Hill Cemetery , Brooklyn, New York, 1994
e: Tell me about the Mondrian Fan Club. It’s a world wide thing isn’t it?
DM: On New years eve 1993 I founded The Mondrian Fan Club with the Australian Artist Adam Nankervis and to mark the foundation we had an event with a young cowboy who was working with me. I had previously done a piece with him called Cowboys and Bodhisattvas, using real guns, rattlesnakes, video and laser projections. I said to him “Do you mind doing an event for me ?” – because I needed someone very tall and very powerful. I made two gloves; the first with red, yellow,white and blue ice cubes in the palm and another glove which was thermally heated by batteries. He went to Times Square and at the stroke of midnight he went up to people and said: “If your feeling that your genitals are cold – I can warm them up” and for those who had hot genitals he would cool them down.
e: What was the response?
DM: Oh, they loved it – it was new years eve.
e: Of course.
DM: He also had speakers strapped to his body, playing a tape of certain Boogie – Woogie music – this was in homage of Mondrian. He threw one of the gloves into the Hudson river and the other into the East river off 42nd Street and that was the official founding of the Mondrian Fan Club. Adam and I later did a whole series of time based events which celebrated Mondrian. For example Adam went to the Museum of Modern Art where there are a lot of Mondrian paintings and assumed yogic postures which related to Mondrian’s interest in Theosophy. We visited the place where he was buried and had a conversation on his grave – an event which is recorded in one of these paintings. It was a very beautiful day. We also did this thing – which was fortunately photographed – at long Island where a pilot we knew sky wrote the letter M in the sky. We will be writing the letter O in Honolulu on 31st December 1995. Every new years eve we will be adding a letter until we have spelt the name “Mondrian” and over a period of time you will see these two guys ageing. Mondrian with eight letters is eight years my name is another thirteen then Adam Nankervis another twelve years and if we’re still alive we can go on to “homage too……” It will be very random: Lets say people in Bristol invite us to do the letter N and Athens the letter D…..
e: I like the idea of it taking so long to read something.
DM: Well, Mondrian took twenty five years to finish a painting .
e: Tell me about the neon piece. It looks to me like the sign for a night club.
DM: This piece has been very successful and I want to continue working with neon. Mondrian used to do these gestures called Mudras as a form of yogic exercise. I created my own Mudras and I use four here in the neon piece – two are based on the Kathakali of India: The hands closed together is containment and memory and the hands going out like that – is touching and wonderment and finally is male and the left hand is female – but this is also time and space and so it was wonderful to work on something which is so modern and yet was imbued with values which were beyond the commercial. Mondrian was both fascinated by modernity and also ancient knowledge which is something I can relate to. I describe myself as a transcendental hedonist I like the good life but I think you should also transcend into a form of miracle shamanism – to avoid unnecessary dependencies.
e: I understand that you are making a new edition of your broad-sheet Signals which has appeared on and off since the sixties.
DM: Yes, I am and it is exciting the amount of things that are arriving from all over the world. Things from old friends and members of the Mondrian Fan Club. I’m getting things like entire music scores and I keep telling them I can only use so much. Iniva are giving us four pages of colour and they want this show so I can’t include everything. The end result will be mainly images with some poems. It will be a different kind of art publication – it’s not an art magazine – it’s a collaboration ………
In the pictures:
P, Paris, Place de la Bastille, 1993
O, Oahu, Wakiki, Havaí, 1996
B, Brandeburg Gate, Berlin, 1997
V, Vancouver, Canadá, 2000
T, Teotihuacan, Zocalo, Mexico City, 2000
Rio Mondrian Fan Club, 2001
Mondrian Fan Club History
The Mondrian Fan Club was founded by David Medalla and Adam Nankervis in New York City in 1992, being born of Medalla´s first propulsion of ‘The Flying Mondrians’ in 1991 with Medalla as founder and Nankervis as co-founder (telekinisthetically, Medalla then in NYC and Nankervis in Aarhus Denmark), establishing a collaboration between the two artists living and moving nomadicly around the world,. Who, when meeting in different locals globally creatied, and continue to create collaborative performances and installations, drawings and photographic impromptus, in homage to the artist Piet Mondriaan.
Mondrian who lived in NYC, was the inspiration, and New York City´s back drop, where Medalla and Nankervis met at the Chelsea Hotel in the winter of 1990, inspired actions primararily in the city, and over time, Medalla and Nankervis created the individual letters pertaining to the names or specific locales within different cities where they would, and do meet, to create a letter, an airborne piece global graffitti, which eventually will complete the setence Medalla and Nankervis have started to formulate since the exhibition, The Secret History of The Mondrian Club, Gee Street London 1994.
Given the ethereal nature of the actions of The Mondrian Fan Club, much is lost in archiving, both films, and images are scarce, but have now been searched and sorted to continue in creating the sentence created before the exhibition The Secret of History of the Mondrian Fan Club.
The Mondrian Fan Club, Medallla and Nankervis´s interventions travel time ans space and meet at specific junctures, which are captured for their ethereal position and action in time and place, and exhibited sparcely, in an invocation of the meeting points where the two artists have converged, and shared, and collaborated by inspiration of the environment in which they inhabit.
David Medalla e Adam Nankervis // The Secret History of Mondrian Fanclub – Part 3: So Pulo, 2010 @ Baro Galeria
In the pictures:
Tulips for the Iguaçu, 2010
Mondrian Watching two sailors dancing the Boogie Woogie on Times Square in New York City, 2010
As Cadeiras de Mondrian, 2010
A Stitch in Time, 1968-2010
David Medalla in conversation with Adam Nankervis: A Stitch in Time
David Medalla, in the words of Adam Nankervis, and then in his own, a conversation that reveals the mnemonic, emotional, stratified genesis of his works. From the machines that produce foamy rivers and castles of bubbles to those that furrow sand, from a communitarian practice of sewing that crosses continents and generations – against the backdrop of the thousand encounters of a participatory art – to the poetically zany idea of everyone becoming hummingbirds to compose sonic tapestries. Always from the micro to the macro.
In the picture:
David Medalla e Adam Nankervis in front of theMayflower Barn at the Seer Green & Jordana, Buckinhamshire, England/ Photo by Guy Brett
The Mondrian Fan Club @ Artissima
Gallery: Enrico Astuni, Bologna