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Concepts & Cinetisme

January 25th - February 23rd 2024

Conceptual art and Kinetic art, two great innovations initiated in the 1920s by Marcel Duchamp, to name but one, were new artistic ideas that spread both chronologically and geographically in the second half of the 20th century. Since the 1960s, conceptual art has grown steadily throughout the world; In France, this is no longer the sole endeavor of a restrictive group, but is shared by dozens of artists.

The concept of ‘art concret’, also born in the 1920s, has resurfaced with artists working directly with line, geometry and color, rejecting any formal rapport with nature or sentimentality.

Geneviève Claisse is one of the artists who shook up the 1960s and 1970s, first with angular forms, exclusively in black and white, then in parallel with these subtle triangulations, with works based on the circle and its variations. This marked the start of a striking period of unprecedented aesthetic research of the infinite possibilities offered by this element. The colors, back again, are always pure and boldly organized.

Claisse plays with contrasts, chromatic agreements and disagreements, venturing into subtle directions while maintaining an appearance of great simplicity.

““With geometric abstraction, language achieves freedom. It can be a total creation. By purifying and sublimating, it aims for greater sensitivity...””

Geneviève Claisse

Kinetic and Optical art are also revolutionary concepts. Victor Vasarely, Fransisco Sobrino, Horacio Garcia Rossi and Julio Le Parc, have created and developed this new movement which aimed to involve the viewer directly and to include a disruptive notion in art. They overthrew pictorial conventions and added a new dimension thanks to the viewer’s movement. The strength and audacity of these artists lies in giving the illusion of movement without actually creating any.

“For me, kineticism is what happens in the viewer's mind when the eye is forced to organize a perceptual field since it is necessarily unstable. In other words, the reality that presents itself to the viewer is not a given reality, which would be the "right" vision of the work; on the contrary, there are several realities that alternate, according to mechanisms that are strictly physiological.”

Victor Vasarely

Claude Viallat gives a last brush stroke before completing a piece. Photo Anthony Maurin. ©Objectif Gard.

… what counts is how the colors play with the colors underneath, how in an intuitive, unintended, unplanned way, I manage to organize a surface in density, in intensity.

Claude Viallat

Concept nourishes art, and visual artists enrich this idea that becomes the source of numerous innovations.

Claude Viallat is one of those who invented a new pictorial language. In the 1960s, through Supports/Surfaces, a movement he initiated, Viallat adopted a process based on prints which he multiplies depending on the support, thus reducing his visual vocabulary to a single form. Equally devoid of any narrative, this element name ‘haricot’ (bean), ‘osselet’ (little bone) or ‘éponge’ (sponge), is arranged in an all-over pattern on the support: It is not longer a question of a simple face-to-face with a canvas, but a skillful interplay between motif and the existing support, which the artist, through his action, hijacks and transforms into a work of art.

Claude Viallat, 1986/156, Oil on three fabric width

The depersonalization of the act of painting takes on its full meaning.

Jorge Eielson, a Peruvian artist who has also invented a new mode of artistic expression, transforms a painted surface into a space for exchange, where pre-Columbian culture is expressed through a contemporary piece. He hijacks the ‘Quipus’ (an ancient communication system of the Inca empire) and reinterprets it conceptually, combining painting, poetry, sculpture and performance in a single creation.

Claudine Dray creates a poetic, sensitive universe from a pure, delicate material: silk paper and tengucho. From this raw material, the artist creates 3D relief paintings in which pure white predominates: she crumples, folds, tears and glues, giving rise to silhouettes, landscapes and worlds where light penetrates through transparency – a world that seems animated by spiritual forces, a source of emotions open to contemplation.

Claudine Drai, Untitled, Silk paper on canvas, 2015


Geneviève Claisse

H, 1970
Acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 cm | 59 x 59 in

Dadamaino, Lettere 12


Francisco Sobrino, Déplacement instable

1961 - 1969

Jorge Eduardo Eielson

Quipus 39-A, 2000
Acrylic and canvas folded and knotted on canvas
68 x 83 cm | 26 3/4 x 32 1/4 in

Claudine Drai, Sans titre


Claude Viallat, Sans titre


Horacio Garcia-Rossi, Composition cinétique


Victor Vasarely, CHEYT-G


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