From 27 January 2015 onwards, twenty-five years to the day it was established, Witte de With presents a new installation by artist Willem de Rooij. Character Is Fate showcases an astrological birth chart Piet Mondrian had made in 1911. A special display system that relates to the solar calendar allows for the birth chart to be illuminated by the sun, best seen from 2.15pm to 2.30pm each day, all year long. While considering the conservational parameters of displaying historical objects, Character Is Fate also visualizes Witte de With’s physical position in relation to the sun.
In late 1911 artist Piet Mondrian was about to move to Paris and leave his native country of the Netherlands behind. During this period of artistic and personal transformation he turned to theosophist Adriaan van de Vijsel for an astrological reading. Mondrian was born under the sign of Pisces on 7 March 1872, and according to his horoscope was “very susceptible and [had] psychic tendencies.” He was “able to feel things without being able to give an explanation of how this knowledge was obtained, [with] a mind that can express itself diplomatically, calmly, and systematically.”
Special thanks goes to the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague for their generous loan of Piet Mondrian’s original horoscope. The loan also marks a first-time collaboration between the RKD and Witte de With, which will be continued annually.
Published on the occasion of this work, Willem de Rooij and Witte de With Publishers present the new publication Character is Fate: Piet Mondrian’s Horoscope. The book contains the facsimile, its transcription, and its English translation, alongside texts by Wietse Coppes and Kocku von Stuckrad. Character is Fate: Piet Mondrian’s Horoscope was launched on 21 May 2015 at Witte de With.
The project Character Is Fate by artist Willem de Rooij was commissioned by Defne Ayas (Director, Witte de With) for Witte de With’s 25th anniversary year.