Sep 4, 2002

playing with perception
Not far from the center of Aix-in-Provence is the Fondation Vasarely. The Op Art building was designed, built and financed by Vasarely himself in the 1970s. A huge hexagonal form, the facades black and white circles within circles create an optical effect which is meant to capture the eye of drivers on the adjacent highway and, according to the foundation's depliant, "offer a differ interactive vision depending on the speed at which the driver is going." Art before safety!

Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary but lived in France. He claimed that, as a child, he was greatly influenced by looking out of a train widow and seeing what motion did to stillness (which makes me think of Arthur Dove's Fields of Grain As Seen From Train). Fascinated by stillness vs. motion, he tried to do the opposite, make still motion kinetic.
Vasarely used color as if he was reconstructing Itten color charts and used mainly flat colors. But, because of this minimal use of color, he showed how powerful chiaroscuro is in being able to push shapes in and out of the canvas. Shade creates volumn.
Coming from a Bauhaus background, Vasarely created just to manipulate it. He enjoyed using the contradictory perspective of axonometry. Because stillness moved him.
Not all my illusions are optical.

VASARELY: Victor Vasarely--Victor Vasarely's Zebras--Please select a thumbnail image --20th Century artists who use symmetry to explore color theory--Catalogue listing for Victor Vasarely--VICTOR VASARELY--The Father of Op-Art
OP ART: Optical Illusion Cafe Wall--Optical Art is a mathematically-oriented form of (usually) Abstract art--Examples of Op Art--Optical Art Designs--Op - Art: You Can't Always Believe Your Eyes--The following activities are designed to be taught independently as well as together for a more comprehensive understanding of Optical Illusions
AXONOMETRY: Axonometry in Chinese scrolls--China, Japan and the Birth of Modernism--AN ANIMATED SPACE --Axonometric Projections --Byzantine perspective --Among our peers
ARTHUR DOVE: The Quiet Man of American Modernism --Dove revitalized his palette --American Regionalists and American Realism--Arthur Garfield Dove (1880-1946) --Arthur Dove Gale, 1932 --Arthur Garfield Dove was born in upstate New York in 1880
ITTEN COLOR: The color wheel taught --teaching color as a series of formal and physiological experiments in perception --Johannes Itten 1888 - 1967--Johannes Itten's preliminary course 1919-1922--Before joining the Bauhaus Itten headed his own art school in Vienna--The Voice of Color


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