Coppernickel Goes Mondrian
Keepvogel, Wouter van Reek’s long-legged bird in the baggy hooded top, has a new friend. Kijkvogel is loosely inspired by Mondrian; his jacket and glasses look just like the ones the artist is wearing in the photo on the back of the book. His dog Foxtrot is also part of the Van Reek universe and appears to be a close relation of Tungsten, Keepvogel’s faithful companion.
Last year, Leopold and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague started a series of art picture books, with Keepvogel en Kijkvogel in het spoor van Mondriaan (Keepvogel and Kijkvogel on the Trail of Mondrian) as the second volume. Van Reek’s graphic, computer-generated illustrations perfectly complement Mondrian’s vivid palette and abstract style. As Van Reek sends his characters on a journey through a world made up entirely of Mondrian colours, the artist’s famous paintings come to life: from Mill in Sunlight and Red Tree to the uncompleted Victory Boogie Woogie. The playful illustrations follow Mondrian’s development from a landscape painter in the tradition of the Hague School to a master of abstract art. The amusing and imaginative conclusion takes the characters to Kijkvogel’s studio, where Keepvogel completes the artist’s last painting to the swinging sounds of the boogie-woogie.