View optical art by Victor Vasarely available at Shapero Modern.
Victor Vasarely (1906 - 1997) was born Gyözö Vásárhelyi in Pécs, Hungary. Widely known as the father of the Op Art movement, his works feature complex abstractions using a variety of optical illusions.
Vasarely began his artistic training in 1927, at a private drawing school in Budapest. The following year he joined the Mühely Aacademy, which was run by Sándor Bortnyik and acted as the centre of the Bauhaus movement in Budapest. While studying at the academy, Vasarely was profoundly influenced by the work of Joseph Albers and Wassily Kandisky. His early works speak directly to this influence, demonstrating a concern with colour theory.
After moving to Paris in 1930, Vasarely found success as a graphic designer and systematically explored the optical and emotional scope of different graphic techniques. This cemented his belief that geometric forms could evoke a sensory perception conveying new ideas of space, matter and energy. Vasarely subsequently developed his own geometric form of abstraction, which he varied to create different optical patterns with a kinetic effect. The artist’s works from the 1950s and 1960s suggest this focus on the optical potential of the image, featuring complex and colourful patterns which engage the viewer’s eye. Many of his surfaces seem to bulge out towards the viewer, creating an illusion of three dimensional form.
Vaserly’s works draw on the grid as a key organisational principle, arranging geometric forms in vibrant colours to create an impression of fluctuating movement.
Throughout his career, Vasarely created several artworks for public spaces, including the decoration of Caracas University in 1954. He designed numerous murals of metal and ceramic for buildings in France. Moreover, from 1955 to 1968, Vasarely regularly exhibited his work at Documenta in Kassel. The official spiral-shaped logo of the 20th Olympic Games in Munich was designed by Vasarely. In 1976, the artist founded the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence. The same year, The Vasarely Museum opened in the artist's home-town of Pécs, followed by the opening of a second museum in Budapest’s Zichy Palace in 1987. Vasarely died in Paris on 15 March 1997, at the age of 90.
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