Building on the major success of the first Asia solo show by Op and Kinetic art master Carlos Cruz-Diez held in May 2017, Puerta Roja is proud to present works by the acclaimed artist once again, and this time in a group exhibition celebrating the genre. Titled Movement, the show is organised together with the iconic Galerie Denise René from Paris, and features works by Cruz-Diez alongside his Op and Kinetic art contemporaries, whose careers were all catapulted by the renowned gallerist Denise René during the 1950s. On from 10 May to 21 July 2018, the exhibition displays both historical and more recent works by artists who have worked within the legacy of the historical movement into the 21st century, and presenting both an homage and ongoing outlook to the visionary spirit of Denise René.
Movement celebrates the collaboration between the two pioneering galleries, the Parisian Galerie Denise René and Hong Kong's Puerta Roja. The title pays tribute to Denise René's history-making exhibition Le Mouvement (1955) while referring to the osculating colours and forms that invite the viewer to be a part of the artwork as an active participant. The exhibition highlights the evolution of the movement in modern and contemporary art history, showcasing 15 works of art by the masters Carlos Cruz-Diez, Yaacov Agam, Jesús Rafael Soto and Victor Vasarely, together with contemporary artists Gladys Nistor, Gruppo MID, Ventoso, Mariano Ferrante, Hans Kooi, Pe Lang and Olivier Ratsi.
"It is an honour for Puerta Roja to host this collaborative exhibition with Galerie Denise René. I founded Puerta Roja in 2010, two years before Denise René's passing at the age of 99. An icon in the art world for her innovative spirit and distinctive programme, Denise René always said that art must invent new paths in order to exist. With this exhibition, I trust that we are referencing her vision by opening new routes of Op and Kinetic art to Asian audiences, presenting masterpieces and artists previously unseen in the region, as well as introducing emerging talent side by side with the great masters. By bringing together both our stable of artists, we hope to highlight the connections between legacy and contemporaneity through the deeply universal, and still relevant, ideals of Op and Kinetic art," said Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Founder of Puerta Roja and Co-President of Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.
Denise René opened her Parisian gallery after WWII with the first solo show by Victor Vasarely. After the chaos of the war, artists were fuelled by idealist notions of progress, inspired by science and mathematics they looked to change the world through reason and order. With the use of optical illusion and geometric patterns, the effect to confuse and stimulate the eye was produced. The incorporation of the viewer as a key component of the work, and the straightforward unpretentious representations, made the art inclusive, ultimately seeking to democratise the art experience. With a vision to spearhead ground-breaking exhibitions and support the careers of then unrecognised talent, Denise René ascertained her place in modern art history books with the 1955 exhibition Le Mouvement by featuring younger artists and showcasing them alongside already established ones such as Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp.
It was at Le Mouvement that Carlos Cruz-Diez was introduced to Denise René by his fellow Venezuelan contemporary, Jesús Rafael Soto. The two artists are prominently featured by Puerta Roja in the group exhibition Movement; Cruz-Diez's Physichromie series (1959), and Chromointerference Spatiale Décembre (1964), use contrast and harmonization to generate virtual colours that change depending upon the viewers point of perception. El Ovalo Escarlata (2002), by Soto, features his iconic linear, kinetic construction with suspended metal rods in front of detailed patterns on wooden relief. The finely balanced, perpetually moving rods create 'vibrations' that extend into the surrounding space, connecting to the environment and breaking free from fixities of traditional painting.
Soon after the ground-breaking Le Mouvement show, Denise René's position as the champion of Op and Kinetic art were cemented, and by 1965, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) solicited her help in assembling the historical exhibition, The Responsive Eye, where the term "Op and Kinetic Art" was first formally recognised.
The strength of the philosophical ideals at the heart of the artists' intent has ensured the movement's lasting legacy and current revival. A myriad of retrospectives on the artists, the art movement and the gallery itself have taken place in the last 20 years, including The Intrepid Denise René, a Gallery in the Adventure of Abstract Art organised by the National Museum of Modern Art and held at the Centre Pompidou in 2001.
Today Op and Kinetic art continues to develop with the next generation of young artists. With strong roots in South America, the tradition is brought forward by important artists such as Argentinian artists Mariano Ferrante, Gladys Nistor and artist collective Ventoso. The contemporary continuation of the movement also travels across the borders, with French artist Oliver Ratsi, Dutch Hans Kooi and Swiss artist Pe Lang, who employ innovative materials and technology as well as contemporary advancements in computer sciences respectively to create new works in the spirit of Op and Kinetic art.
Running concurrently with Movement presented at Puerta Roja in Hong Kong, Galerie Denise René will showcase Moving Beauty: A View on International Kinetic Art at Shanghai Himalayas Museum in China from 16 June to 10 September 2018. Although the history of the Op and Kinetic Art movement occurred in the Western art world, the content is highly relevant to Asian audiences and its presence continues to increase.