Art Attack: Mondrian – Abstraction In Beauty

Two years ago Lantana Games came out with a little American History centric indie called Children of Liberty. You might remember us mentioning it as a semi-educational stealth game – if you have this on your RPS Bingo Card you may cross it out now! Children of Liberty appears to have set the stage for their next project.

Continuing on the historical theme is Mondrian – Abstraction in Beauty [official site], which is decribed as a 360-degree block-breaking puzzle game that looks at how game art evolved in the 20th century. More specifically, how video game art has evolved.

Well, sort of. If you’re wondering what specifically this has to do with Piet Mondrian, who the game is named after, your guess is as good as mine. There appears to be some overlap in Lantana’s art history focus: Mondrian was one of the main contributors to the De Stijl art movement, best known for his work as the artist behind that painting of white, black and red grids which have since been adopted for the decor of 90 percent of the world’s dentist offices. Both he and De Stijl seem to be at the heart of the game, and if you’re a big art history buff you can explain to me in the comments just how De Stijl relates to game art.

“While not fully abiding by De Stijl limitations on form and color, the game nonetheless takes an abstract look at the history of video game art, through unlockable features like paddles, balls, powerups, and screen effects,” reads a statement from Lantana. The team has experimented with ways representing early methods of rendering, keeping in line with the technological limitations of game devices between the 1970s and 1990s.

“Lantana Games sees the history of video games in terms of the dynamic interaction of technological development and individual genius, of social and economic challenge, personal response, and overcoming the challenges of technical limitation,” Lantana’s blurb continues. You also get access to a sort of digital art museum, along with what Lantana are calling ‘Benefactor Content’ levels, only accessible by owning the games on which they are based: Monaco – What’s Yours is Mine, and AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, among others.

Mondrian – Abstraction in Beauty is due in August. The game is developed with the help of game and tabletop artists with no grants or funding. A real passion piece. Watch it in action below.

5 Comments

  1. Dances to Podcasts says:

    The closest Mondrian got to hexagons was probably lozenges and in terms of colours he did indeed limit himself to red, yellow and blue. Though he did cheat at times, whites not being pure whites and such, since composition/balance was more important than sticking to those rules.

  2. Binky the Boojum says:

    The Piet Mondrian painting that appears to have game like movement, is ‘Broadway Boogie-Woogie’.
    I have just searched on Google images… Have a look. It is supposed to have been inspired
    by the artist looking down upon the streets of Manhattan.

  3. banananas says:

    Huh, this doen’t even look vaguely related or inspired by Mondrain/DeStijl… Why not just call it “Round Arkanoid” or something and cut all the blurb.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Wow, I must say that the reductive quality of the negative space visually and conceptually compliments the eloquence of the associated kineticism to create a sort of faux-radiance that permeates the spatial flow.

  5. cpt_freakout says:

    I think (and I want to stress I’m not sure) it might have to do with the idea that the grids Mondrian made were abstractions of nature, the world reduced to its most essential forms (line + color). This is nature seen as a system, basically, and what this game seems to imply is that this system of lines and colors is reproduced, perhaps unconsciously, in man-made ones such as computers (the innards of one are sort of like an abstract grid: it suggests an organism in ways other machines don’t). The most basic graphics are, too, reproducing that form, whether it’s Pong or Space Invaders or Q-Bert. All of them are representations of systems, in the end, and those systems come from nature. At least that’s what I’d guess the connection could be. Another guess is that the hexagons have to do with the tabletop abstraction of movement in any given space, which would be a sort of silly ‘update’ of the system, since they can also be ultimately reduced to degrees of the vertical and horizontal, but hey, I dunno.

    Um, yeah. I hope that made sense.