Let's move!


sous le commissariat d’Arnault Pierre
26.11.2015 > 26.03.2016

Kinetic Art is a polymorphic movement whose richness and diversity is difficult to apprehend and synthesize. Furthermore, it has just recently been re-acknowledged as part of the history of art of the 1960s, despite its undeniable success celebrated by institutions, art critics and the public who welcomed, for over a decade, each exhibition with enthusiasm, as it was the case for “Lumière et mouvement” presented at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1967.

For a long time, both its dynamism and international expansion throughout Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and its repercussions in Latin America, continent of origin of most of its artists, were underestimated.

Moreover, after its surprise effect, this form of art was reduced to mere perceptual effects; limited to a simple definition, optical and kinetic art stood no chance in proving its true values: the dissolution of classical compositional form, the questioning of the usual artistic frame, the dematerialization of the object of art, the physical and sensory participation of the spectator, the pursuit of an environmental and architectural art,...

It is from this diversity that the exhibition“Let's move!”seeks to account, through a selection of artists and works whose contribution, in retrospect, seems fundamental. Some have studied the transformability of the work by manipulating it (Yaacov Agam) or by moving the viewer (Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez), in agreement with one of the main points of the “Manifeste Jaune” published for the exhibition “Le Mouvement” at the Galerie Denise René in 1955, founding event of the vogue of kinetic art.

Others have experienced the ambiguities of the confronted vision of instable compositional structures (Victor Vasarely) or  the ever changing chromatic organisations (Karl Gerstner).

The use of inherent movement of colors and their own perceptive character is the key guideline followed by many artistes such as Antonio Asis and Joël Stein. But electricity would fundamentally alter the nature and impact of color.

« The electric color, as Vardanega would say, is more vibrant and transparent than the pigment-based color. In addition, it escapes the canvas that has become a means of projection in space. »

The exhibition held at the Patinoire Royale features several cells where the potential of light boxes designed by Frank Malina (pioneer in this field, whose almost "primitive" character can be appreciated by one) is revealed, Horacio Garcia-Rossi or Hugo Demarco. With the Chromosaturation of Cruz-Diez - the first ever presented in Brussels - the spectator, immersed in monochrome spaces, makes the physical experience of color as a primary sensation.

The taste for large dimensions was a constant among many artists who, in the wake of constructive art, were interested in the question of the integration of their works in architecture. The large wall of Soto’s Courbes immatérielles and his spectacular blue and black Extension are key examples of this research. The exhibition also presents a remarkable luminous environment by Julio Le Parc demonstrating his subtle approach to light reflexion and distortion and the action of the spectator.

Many artworks by other major artists have been presented such as numerous Structures permutables, luminous reliefs and works showing colors interactions by artist Francisco Sobrino, one of the founding members of the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV). Or yet, Antonio Asis, whose reliefs have consistently exploited the spectacular effects of vibration, optical saccade and moiré effects, while the more discrete graphic work systematized the approach of color in weave-like or circular compositions.

Added to a number of rediscoveries, the Patinoire Royale is proud to show significant artworks by Ludwig Wilding and Mariano Carrera, masters in the moiré effects, Angel Duarte and Marta Boto, magicians in luminous structures, Nino Calos and many more.

Arnauld Pierre
Exhibition curator