The Städel Museum shows the special exhibition “Victor Vasarely. In the Labyrinth of Modernism”, which has been conceived as a comprehensive survey. The retrospective presents the founder of the op art of the 1960s with more than one hundred works. Victor Vasarely’s (1906–1997) oeuvre, however, spans more than sixty years and makes use of the most diverse styles and influences: Key works of all phases of his production trace the development of the once-in-a century artist. Often reduced to his op art, the artist forged a bridge between the early modernism of Eastern and Central Europe and the avant-gardes of the Swinging Sixties in the West. He drew on traditional media and genres throughout his career, incorporating the multiple, mass production, and architecture into his complex work in the 1950s.
The exhibition also looks back at Vasarely’s beginnings as an artist with such works as “Hommage au carré” (1929) or figurative paintings like “Autoportrait” (1944). The selection spans from early works like “Zèbres” (1937) and his “Noir-et-Blanc” period of the 1950s to the main works of op art such as the “Vega” pictures of the 1970s. The wide-ranging retrospective understands itself as a rediscovery of a crucial twentieth-century artist who reflects modernism in all its complexity like no other.
Next to important loans from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, or the Michele Vasarely Foundation, the exhibition presents not least the dining hall created for the Deutsche Bundesbank as an outstanding example of Vasarely’s room-spanning architectural designs.