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Vancouver Art Gallery Fall Exhibitions | Victor Vasarely, Op Art in Vancouver & Uncommon Language October 17, 2020 to April 5, 2021

From a media release:

Vancouver Art Gallery New Fall Exhibitions
Victor Vasarely, Op Art in Vancouver & Uncommon Language
October 17, 2020 to April 5, 2021

October 17, 2020, Vancouver, BC – This fall, the Vancouver Art Gallery presents Victor Vasarely, a selected survey of paintings, sculptures and prints by the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), internationally renowned for his colourful abstract patterns and playful, and visually engaging aesthetic. 

Victor Vasarely, OERVENG
Victor Vasarely, OERVENG, 1968, tempera on wood composite board, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of the Estate of Kathleen E. Reif, Estate of Victor Vasarely/SOCAN (2020), Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

The exhibition focuses on his artistic production from the 1960s and 70s, at the height of his popularity. With the most extensive collection of Vasarely artworks in Canada, the Gallery offers a unique opportunity for the public to discover this influential artist’s rich and varied practice. Widely celebrated as the founder of Op Art (Optical Art), Vasarely was an innovator whose vibrant art produced the optical illusion of dynamic movement: they appear to pulse, shimmer and vibrate.

Organized in conjunction with Victor Vasarely is the exhibition Op Art in Vancouver—a selection of paintings and prints from the Gallery’s permanent collection that reflects the emergence of Op Art in Vancouver.  

Joan Balzar - Blue Neon
Joan Balzar, Blue Neon, 1967, acrylic, wood, neon tubing, electronic transformer on canvas, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Alexander Cotter, Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, several Vancouver artists began a focused engagement with abstract art and ideas that developed locally and had distinct and formative links to artists and movements gaining prominence both nationally and internationally. Op Art celebrated instability, transformation and movement—caused by both optical phenomena within a composition and by the physical activity of the viewer in front of the artworks. Artists such as Gordon Smith, Brian Fisher, Takao Tanabe, Michael Morris, Joan Balzar, and Bodo Pfeifer actively embraced this dynamic new form of abstraction. 

Allison Hrabulik - The Splits
Allison Hrabluik, The Splits, 2015 (still), digital video with sound, 15 min., Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Purchased with proceeds from the Audain Emerging Artists Acquisition Fund

Developed in response to Victor Vasarely, the group exhibition Uncommon Language critiques and confounds Vasarely’s romantic desire for a universal aesthetic language.  Featuring local, national and international artists from the Gallery’s permanent collection including Josef Albers, Sonny Assu, Vija Celmins, Allyson Clay, Andrew Dadson, Beau Dick, General Idea, Jean Goguen, Betty Goodwin, Angela Grauerholz, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Allison Hrabluik, Robert Indiana,  Mary Kelly, Ann Kipling, Lui Shou Kwan, Ken Lum, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Françoise Sullivan, Takao Tanabe, Cy Twombly, Rachel Whiteread, Joyce Wieland, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Zhu Jinshi, as well as invited artists Karin Jones and Zoe Kreye.

Victor Vasarely, Op Art in Vancouver and Uncommon Language will be on view from October 17, 2020 to April 5, 2021.

Victor Vasarely was conceived in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris.

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