ART : from painting to architectonic work
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
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 Diez, Morellet,
similar style had already appeared in works by Bauhaus
masters: Moholy-Nagy, Klee,
and Itten, as well as in creations by Malevitch,
Sophie Tauber-Arp and Mondrian.
is an experimental didactic and artistic centre which was founded
in Weimer in 1919 and that operated until 1933, when the
power. The adaptation of Art and Architecture to the new-born elements
of the Industrial age began at the start of the 20th century.
(aesthetic) experiments of the "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
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 and
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
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
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". Vasarely
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 :
"original", which is to a work of art what seed is
to bread, is in reality simply a thing full of potential.
outdated term, the original is the current form
of a 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
ready-made, the surrealists and the sculptor-painters
who worked in the years between the two world wars, further expanded
the gap between styles.
Vasarely, 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 it made.".
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 treasure.
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 as Cézanne,
Seurat, Léger, Matisse, find on their way in 1929 to Mühely
Bauhaus from Budapest in addition to the inspiration
of Klee and Kandinsky.
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 colour.
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 art.
is no difference between the original and the “reproduction” as
far as the plastic worth is equal.
If 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
From this he induced a doctrine and a new way
aiming at a homogeneous enrichment of the milieu in the well meaning
of the responsible artist, i.e. the architect.
sees himself “plasticien”, not anymore painter;
his dream is to integrate the beauty of plastic art 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
there are barriers that we cannot change:
The 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 as discs/recordings.
Eisenstein, Fellini, are the creators but not the makers
of their films.
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
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 artistic research
Pierre Vasarely, Aix-en-Provence, 30th of March 2004