Painting : Untitled (Victor Vasarely - 1908)

Title : "Untitled"

Artist : Victor Vasarely

Year : 1908

Lithography.

Dimension : 59 x 47 cm.

This lithography is Vasarely’s prototypical work which then developed into optical illusion art, popularly referred to as Optical Art (OpArt). As an early visual phenomena, this type of work was characterised by a manifestation of abstract forms with basic geometric patterns and formal outlines. These forms then become increasingly more complex, but with an orderly and measured design tendency. This way, these visual forms stimulate the retina, causing an illusion of movement and radiance. This effect becomes even stronger if the forms are made of complementary colors.

This work of Vasarely’s is still a rather modest expression of form. However, the division of the planes into four parts and a rhythm of forms arranged in a diagonal movement are the basic principles of optical art that one can already feel. If one’s sight is trained on this composition of forms and colours, one would feel a strong movement radiating out of the four planes. OpArt works that became prevalent and peaked in New York in 1960’s reflect the thoughts of modernists infatuated with science and technology. This phenomena is one product of the modernist current (20th century) that was very much concerned with searching for objectivity. This can be seen in the appearance of abstractionism, that included neoplasticism, constructivism, and suprematism. Although rather modest, the reflection of Vasarely’s spirit of objectivity can be strongly felt.