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Screen Prints & Non-Prints

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ca. 1970
28 x 23 5/8 in. (71.1 x 60 cm)

Victor Vasarely
French (Pécs, Hungary, 1906 or 1908 - 1997, Paris, France)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Serigraph
Credit Line: Gift of Roslyn and John Goldman
Accession Number: 1987.66
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Location: Not currently on view

Victor Vasarely was an innovator of Op Art, a movement in the 1960s characterized by engaging the viewer’s perception through the use of illusions. In this print, the artist combines geometric forms in a wide range of saturated colors to create a spatially ambiguous image. For example, look closely at the magenta square with the vermillion diamond in the center. Is this square the front face of a cube that projects towards you? Or the back face of an empty open cube?

Space in an image is determined by how you read forms in relation to one another, and follows from a series of cues. You might find yourself being able to see both possibilities in this print because the artist has combined contrasting spatial cues. Because bright tones tend to project forward, you might read the magenta-square as the front face of a cube. However, if you look at the two blue squares in the lower-left, the green sides to the magenta-faced cube appear to be the side and top of two different blue-faced cubes. Now the magenta square is the back face of an empty open cube.

Continue looking across the surface of this image. Do the spatial relations between elements change depending on your focus?

[Label copy from Seeing in Color and Black and White, 2018]

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