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Vasarely's Utopia

Published on , by Zaha Redman

The Centre Pompidou is focusing on the prolific career of Victor Vasarely in a chronological circuit. An occasion to look back at the artist's Utopian project.

Fondation Vasarely from the outside, Aix-en-Provence. Vasarely's Utopia
Fondation Vasarely from the outside, Aix-en-Provence.
© Edikom, Photo ©
In the 1960s, Victor Vasarely (1906-1997) was a world-famous star, just like Andy Warhol. Few French artists enjoyed such celebrity, let alone an international reputation. Yet ten years later, he was forgotten – particularly in France, where he had been most lionised. Exhibitions are now being devoted to him in Madrid, Frankfurt and Istanbul. In Paris, the major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou is the first since the Musée des Arts Décoratifs' monograph exhibition in 1963. An Unnatural Union This long absence from the French cultural scene was not solely due to the lamentable legal wrangling over Vasarely's estate. The distribution system set up by the artist – matrices that could be transferred to all kinds of media, on various scales – also exacerbated misunderstandings about his output. Like Warhol, Vasarely had a studio of assistants, but his "factory" did not consist of stars of rock, fashion and the world of hippy drop-outs. Less appealing and exhibitionist, his creative studio was seen as a speculative agency, and his multiples as…
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