Victor Vasarely, the Father of Op Art, on the Light that Inspired the Movement

Artsy Editorial
Jul 17, 2013 2:45PM

“The art of tomorrow will be a collective treasure or it will not be art at all,” said the grandfather, father, patriarch, and pioneer of Op Art, Victor Vasarely. The undisputed founder of a short-lived movement whose legacy is still very much alive, Vasarely embraced the ability of art to alter both vision and perception. The artist was deeply inspired by the effect of light in Southern France, and spent his summers in the village of Gordes, where he no doubt soaked up a new perspective. “Southern towns and villages devoured by an implacable sun have revealed to me a contradictory perspective,” he once said. “Never can the eye identify to what a given shadow or strip of wall belongs: solids and voids merge into one another, forms and backgrounds alternate, a given square jumps up or slithers downward depending on whether I couple it with a dark green spot or a piece of pale sky. Thus, identifiable things are transmuted into abstractions and begin their own independent life.”

Metagalaxie (1959-61) by Victor Vasarely, courtesy of Reunion des Musees Nationaux, Paris

Victor Vasarely is included in the “Dynamo” exhibition, on view at the Grand Palais, Paris, through July 22, 2013. Explore the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais on Artsy.

Artsy Editorial