Victor Vasarely

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The leader of the short-lived optical art movement, Victor Vasarely is an artist who excelled in numerous painting medium’s in an unprecedented form. Vasarely’s ground breaking work transformed the medium of art and sculpture; he was a born artist and genius in every way. He set himself apart from the rest of the troupe of artists during his time by delving into optical art – an unheard of movement during those times. When it was considered risky to move away from contemporary art, Vasarely did the exact opposite thing and the world witnessed the rise of a star artist. The Hungarian-French artist continued to evolve as an artist by creating articulate art which was worlds apart from what other artists were doing. Art experts call Vasarely’s art modern as he was very clever is utilising optical illusion in spaces and adding a touch of three dimensionality into his work which resulted in stunning paintings. As an artist Vasarely excelled in prints, sculptures, tapestries, and serigraphs which is a testament to his range as an extraordinary artist.

Born as Gyozo Vasarhelyi in Pecs, Hungary in 1908 Vasarely initially studied medicine at university before developing a flair for art.  He left medicine and switched universities to pursue his love for art. Success came soon to Vasarely, a move to Paris in 1930 saw him gain some name for himself as a graphic artist. This was also because no one really experimented with graphic art that much during that time. Soon Vasarely started spending equal amounts of time in both Paris and Budapest; his love for art drew him to both places extensively. As a graphic artist, Vasarely started exploring different means of artistic dimensions, especially the optical and emotional scope of different techniques. The ever inquisitive mind of Vasarely then started studying various other geometric forms which made him think that every shape and form had its own matter, identity and conveyed something new to the onlooker. He developed his own version of abstraction; his form of art was not just limited to the canvas. Vasarely’s Tribute to Malevitch is basically an extensive ceramic wall adorned with yellow, brown and black colors. The 100m wall is typical Vasarely work, the wall is straight but the way Vasarely has painted it gives it the illusion of bending and curving at each angle. Not an easy task but one only Vasarely could have accomplished as an artist. Vasarely worked hard to create patterns with a kinetic effect, as evident in his Tribute to Malevitch. In fact his work was so ingenious that Vasarely was even hired to design the logo of the 20th Olympic Games in Munich. The famous official spiral shaped logo became an iconic international symbol.

Vasarely’s strong hold on color patterns can be seen in his painting Duo-2. As the name suggests the painting, which is done in acrylic on a board is made up of two similar diamond shaped figures. Every angle, point and shape in the painting is a different color. It’s magnificent as the painting consists of so many colors that in any other artists’ hands the painting would have been a disaster. But in Vasarely’s hands, it has its own voice. And despite using so many colors the two shapes are still manage to stand out and own the painting. Victor Vasarely was a master of illusion after all.

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