From the Catalogue: Carlo Vivarelli

Carlo Vivarelli is often seen as the link between the founders of the Zurich Concrete Art movement, such as Max Bill and Richard Paul Lohse, and the so-called second generation: in terms of his age he belongs rather to the first generation, but his art is more closely associated with the second generation. Also in formal artistic terms, this particular position can be seen: while the first generation of Zurich Concrete Art always followed a “mathematical or combinatorial ‘set of rules’” (Kappeler, Susanne: “Carlo Vivarelli.” Plastik, Malerei, Gebrauchsgrafik, Zurich 1988, p. 28), the second generation focussed more on colour variants and used structure as their framework. Vivarelli combines both methods on an equal footing in his work, giving precedence to neither colour nor form. The aim is “ inquiry into the interdependent effect of colour and colour, colour pair and colour pair, colour quality and form. Just as the formal division of the square and subdivisions of the surface is underpinned by strict mathematical and geometric principles, he bases his choices of colour not on ‘taste’ or ‘beauty’, but on their mutual relationship.” (op cit. p. 32). 

The works presented here show most effectively the artistic development of this professional graphic designer. From 1962, colour and form are the predominant theme, yet the forms are not strictly geometric, but playful and more diverse. In addition, the colours and forms do not follow a mathematical concept. By comparison, some work appears to be the freer than the others. In 1968, Vivarelli had already found his mature style. The selection of forms and colours follow a clear pattern; the forms are now only strictly geometric, the different sizes being mathematically determined, and the colours are pure. Colour and form are closely bound according to strict principles, and we see demonstrated “the interplay and interpenetration of colour and formal relationships, with changes according to specific principles.” (Op. Cit. p. 30)

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