ART : FROM PAINTING TO ARCHITECTONIC
Vasarely is often perceived as the father of Opart.
notion of cinetic art appeared for the first time in 1964. It
aspires to explore simple geometric elements and the physics
of shape in order to create dynamic optical phenomenon that entice
a spectators active observations.
result of artistic research carried out simultaneously by Albers
and Vasarely, Opart was born in 1955. Their initial work
on this new artistic movement was furthered by subsequent generations
of artists including: Agam, Soto, Cruz
similar style had already appeared in works by Bauhaus masters: Moholy-Nagy, Klee, Kandinsky and
Itten, as well as in creations by Malevitch,
Sophie Tauber-Arp and Mondrian.
an experimental didactic and artistic centre which was founded
in Weimer in 1919 and that operated until 1933, when the Nazis
took power. The adaptation of Art and Architecture to the new-born
elements of the Industrial age began at the start of the 20th
century. Following (aesthetic) experiments called "Deutsche
Werkbund", initiated by Muthesius in 1907, Walter Gropius establishes a new vision of teaching that is
to unify artists and artisans in collective style and research
projects. The main focus is the discovery of forms that facilitate
the production of series of artwork.
or the house in which we build designates not only
a particular technique in the history of art itself, but an attempt
to blur the borders drawn between various aspects of culture
manifesto never seemed as pertinent as it does today :
is not about teachers and students, but about masters
and apprentices; this is not about artists specialised
in general or applied arts, but about creators who
complete each other in order to serve a common goal"
artistic research speaks directly to the heart of a civilisation,
which is in constant evolution, as well as to that of some of
the greatest Bauhaus teachers : Mies
Van Der Rohe, Hilbersheimer,
Bayer who become the first creators of glass and steel architecture.
performs new experiments with various materials that he groups
by theme. He is a direct inspiration to American Opart.
is not only an artistic research institute, but an educational
facility where economic conditions and the introduction of art
into industrial life are both carefully considered. The movement
strives to eliminate anything ornamental, decorative and any
additional elements in favour of a purely rational construction.
artistic theories extend to objects used in all levels of daily
life, thus classifying the School as the pioneer of industrial
aesthetics and design.
truly democratic School endeavours to foreshadow a future society
in which all relationships between people are regulated by reason
alone, and not by hierarchy, authority or chance. When Hitlers
regime accused the artistic avant-garde of the 1920s of degenerative
art, the ensuing persecutions and restrictions would eventually
prove unsuccessful. The movements influence spread world-wide,
particularly in the fields of architecture and applied arts.
despite deep resemblances, the rationalism of Opart differs
in several ways from the basic characteristics of the abstract
geometric movements that appear between the World Wars.
strives to break down the barriers between art and technology,
as well as to establish relationships between the various branches
of science, such as optics and cybernetics. It embodies new uses
of form and shape, including industrial aesthetics.
it lacks a veritable cultural ambition, the movement does attempt
to expand future technical possibilities. Furthermore, Opart
introduces new elements to abstract geometry: vibration, information
and participation that make it more accessible to the public.
remains acutely conscious of a phenomenon, already many years
old, which he calls: The crisis of the easel painting.
comment seems to originate in the idea that the so-called easel
painting - as new or powerful as it may be at its conception
- ought not only exist within the narrow confines of the art
collectors galleries that limit its widespread distribution,
thus depriving most people today of living in an environment
that is both new and attractive.
has become an object, and thus detached from a more integral
aesthetic. It is exhibited, owned, coveted for itself
alone and becomes separate and frozen in the guise of
a sort of unique poetic function that ends up serving
only a refined elite".
Exhibition catalogue, Musée des Art Décoratifs,
concentrated his efforts on the production of prototypes, i.e.
starting points that he would later expand upon and/or multiply
which is to a work of art what seed is to bread, is
in reality simply a thing full of potential. An outdated
term, the original is the current form
ofa reproduction with possibilities for a renewed usage."
Denise René, Paris 1955.
Vasarely does not presume to have been the first or the only
person to have expressed these ideas which find their origins
in various pieces by Matisse, Léger and
Picasso who employed various sculpture, ceramic and tapestry
the surrealists and the sculptor-painters who worked in the years
between the two world wars, further expanded the gap between
who post-dates the above artists, pushes his ideas much further
by presenting them with dexterity, conviction and enthusiasm:
feel and to do is the old-fashioned way to create
art. From today forward, we conceive of art and have
aesthetic is reinforced by an ethic: the beauty which was until
then purchased by few in the form of works of art, is hereafter
available to everyone thanks to multiples and to
the Cité polychrome that become a collective
many of his contemporaries, Vasarely initially went through figurative
and tachist periods as well as other movements and styles that
he considered false starts.
is however this early period which offers glimpses of a whole
network of influences and fascinating interactions: the parental
links that the painter maintains with the great masters such
Seurat, Léger, Matisse, find on their way in 1929 to Mühely Bauhaus
from Budapest in addition to the inspiration of Klee and
years Vasarely pursued his in-depth research of materials, or
medium. At first he did this work alone and subsequently was
surrounded by a team. To ensure the originality of his art as
he dared try everything imaginable, including tapestry, aluminium,
paint on wood, canvas, plastic, steel, sculpture, glass, mosaic
tiles, ceramic, and thus intertwining pure form with vibrant
main goal of the artist's limited production series - which
are each signed, numbered and are known as multiples -
is to go beyond the singular production of a unique piece of
artists are simply poetic nourishment for entirely happy
people, who will make the generous effort to create art
forms for those who are traditionally underprivileged? "
the ultimate achievement of the painted works was to be the completion
of Vasarelys Didactic museum in Gordes (1970 1996),
it was in 1976, via the construction of the Architectonic Centre
in Aix-en-Provence that Vasarely dedicated his research to the
integration of art into the life of cities.
architecture of the centre is of significance in itself: seven
hexagons open into each other, at the centre of which, forty-two
walls support a work of monumental dimension.
extending Bauhaus ideas, Vasarely considered that art and
architecture become one.
was concerned by the often disappointing result when the attempt
is made to integrate an artists work into architecture.
his Foundation, he wishes to prove that by replacing the forcibly
estranged elements of the natural world with similar colourful
and pleasing shapes and forms, it is possible to create a more
human living environment.
him, there are barriers that we cannot change:
stubbornness of certain people who chose to like
only works of art that are produced by hand is
contrary to all reason.
Most certainly, Descartes writings,
Bachs partitions, are firstly manuscripts,
but these works were able to enter millions
of minds only thanks to their distribution,
either printed in book form, or presented
Eisenstein, Fellini, are the creators
but not the makers of their films.
While Le Corbusier and Niemeyer never
actually placed a single stone with their
own hands, the constructions they conceived
bear their name. The Masters of the Renaissance
signed frescos that were in the large part
made by a team of their students."
Donner à voir and bringing
art to the street are Vasarelys key ideas.
the incontestable leader of Cinetic art, he has influenced many
generations of artists, starting with those of the G.R.A.V.
(Group de Recherches dArt Visuel) right up to video
and other computer-based artists.
Vasarelys work is modern because it foreshadows the foundations of contemporary