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October 12–December 16, 2022
Private view: October 11, 6–8pm
Victor Vasarely: Einstein in the Sky with Diamonds, a collection of significant works by the maestro of optical and kinetic art, spans nearly the all of his career from the 1950s to the 1980s and is presented by Mazzoleni.
The carefully chosen compositions will highlight Vasarely’s experiments with the activation of the surface through the use of tiny, repetitive geometric elements, with special reference to the theory of relativity.
The language of Op Art was created in 1950s works like the arresting Cassiopée 3 (1957). As shown in the sculptural forms and clashing colors of Arc Tur (1968), the painter rationalized the usage of such “plastic units” in the following decade by placing them inside grids where the differences of tones and tints were sternly adjusted.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Einstein-Ker (1976), a huge canvas whose name alludes to Albert Einstein, the man who created the theory of relativity. Vasarely was fascinated by the scientific advancements of the day and worked to create “plastic analogues” of them. The consideration of formal elements goes beyond mere formalism since they create visual phenomena that relate to the universe’s “supra-dimensions” or invisible manifestations of matter. His theory was that the 1950s compositions’ use of positive and negative contrast would visually convey the idea of anti-matter and the presence of mirror universes. Vasarely created scale models and preliminary scale drawings as part of the planning process for his works, which he referred to as “programmations” (plans) in his own words.
Arnauld Pierre, co-curator of the Vasarely retrospective Vasarely, Sharing Forms at Centre Pompidou in 2019, will discuss the scientific poetics that the painter incorporated into the core of his work as well as the universalist ideals that influenced his practice in a fascinating essay in the catalogue that Mazzoleni will release in conjunction with the exhibition.
A culmination of Mazzoleni’s participation in Frieze Masterpieces 2022, the exhibition focuses on Vasarely’s “Black and White” era from the 1950s in addition to masters of post-war European abstraction.