press release

After the success of the exhibition "Beyond Infinity" - The Art of M.C.Escher, the Museum Herakleidon, Experience in Visual Arts proceeded in the presentation of the Hungarian-born French artist , internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The exhibition, with the title Victor Vasarely "The Absolute Eye" commemorated the centennial of his birth and was on display from November 11th 2005 to September 10th 2006. The exhibition consisted of 3 phases:

Phase Ι - 11/11/2005 - 12/3/2006: Phase I centered mainly on Vasarely's serigraphy work. The artist believed in what he called a "social art", not wanting art to be reserved for the "elite". In his writings, he often stated his belief in the new way of disseminating art and the value of multiples.

Phase ΙΙΙ - 22/6/2006 - 10/9/2006: In Phase III, the museum visitor, while enjoying Vasarely's works, experienced art hands-on and was invited to participate in the creation of "Op Art" images with the help of a computer. Vasarely foresaw the advent of this technology and regretted having been born a century too early.

In his Rough Notes (1950s) Victor Vasarely anticipated the active participation of the spectator, free access to Art and computer programs, which would create variants of his works.

True to Vasarely's vision, the Museum is implemented all of the above. During Phase III Entrance to the museum was free.

Τhe Museum commissioned the Mathematics Department of the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, to develope a computer program which would allow visitors to select certain parameters such as color, shape and words and generate Vasarely-type images as the artist had predicted:

After 1953, the artist began thinking of the possibility of creating a plastic language that could be introduced into an electronic circuit (Programmings). He began to think about building a machine which could produce thousands of colored combinations. This electrical device would be controlled electronically and completed by a system of rheostats. The artist said: "On the basis of my programmings, we shall thus be able to re-create all my works, but also the innumerable ones that the machine will propose. Thus the limitation due to the empiricism of the artist's studio will be overcome."

The program is also available in the museum gift shop and E-Shop

Furthermore, the exhibition included quotes of the artist, giving the visitor the possibility to comprehend the artist's beliefs and philosophy.

At this point, we would like to Mrs. Michele Vasarely, daughter-in-law of the artist, for her invaluable collaboration.

During the exhibition Victor Vasarely "The Absolute Eye" visitors were also able to purchase the complete exhibition catalog, a trilingual (Greek, French, English) publication of our museum, in three volumes, one for each phase.

Victor Vasarely is considered the leader of Op Art (opticokinetic art) a mathematically themed form of abstract art which developed in the early 1960s with an aim to stimulating the eye through a radical use of shapes and colours. Vasarely's innovations in optical illusion and kinetic art have inspired many contemporary artists.

"The Absolute Eye" refers to Vasarely's ability to see the world through a prism, translating shapes and forms into a set of basic "art elements", which he captured and then used to convey his messages through his stunning images. As a result we too see in his works these universal elements and can easily identify with them.

The artist was born in 1906 in Pecs, Hungary. He studied art at the Podolini-Volkmann private academy in Budapest. He discovered abstract art while studying at the Mόhely Academy, a center for Bauhaus thought in Budapest. After his first solo exhibition in 1930, in the Kovaks Akos Gallery, in Budapest, Vasarely settled in Paris, where for the next 13 years he pursued a graphic design career. In 1944 he exhibited 150 drawings and graphic work at the inauguration of the Galerie Denise Rene in Paris, after which began a four-year period during which he worked exclusively in oil. In 1947 he published his first series of prints. At this time, he also returned to nature and geometrical forms. In 1955, Vasarely wrote his "Yellow Manifesto", developing the idea of "plastic kinetics" and returning to Bauhaus ideas of art. In 1968, he began experimenting with deforming lines, leading to the Vega period. During the '60's and '70's Vasarely's images became part of popular culture, influencing architecture, fashion, and design in general.

Vasarely died in Paris, in 1997, at the age of 91. Although he acquired fame, he insisted on making his art accessible to all. His motto was "Art for All".

Phase ΙΙ - 16/3/2006 - 18/6/2006: Phase II used multi-media to present the artist's work, once again following Vasarely's beliefs as presented in his writings. Vasarely understood the power of the moving picture and in 1967 stated: "The artist's film will become the disseminable, optimal and optimistic work, a genuine common treasure".

Victor Vasarely