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Synopsis

In this short essay, Víctor Vasarely recalls the beginning of his collaboration with architects, which began in 1952, when he met Venezuelan architect Carlos Raul Villanueva in Paris through Sofia Imber. [Villanueva] invited him to participate in his project at the Ciudad Universitaria in Caracas. Vasarely would [go on to] contribute three large format works, two of which were murals (one a version of El homenaje a Malevich [Homage to Malevich] and another called Sophia) and a third was a metallic kinetic work: Positivo y Negativo [Positive and Negative]. The celebrated Kinetic artist affirms that he fulfilled a dream to incorporate his art with architecture.

Annotations

Víctor Vasarely (1906–1997), the renowned artist of Hungarian origin who was based in France, was one of the international artists personally invited by architect Carlos Raul Villanueva (1900–1975) [to participate] in his arts integration and synthesis project at the Ciudad Universitaria of Caracas. It was initially published in the book by Robert Lafont, L’homme et son métier [El hombre y su oficio] [Man and His Duty] (Paris, 1979), and was then later reported in the Caracas newspaper El Nacional more than twenty years later. This is a firsthand account of interest because it captures the vision of one of the artists involved [in the project] and it offers a little-known point of view. It demonstrates the importance of Villanueva’s project because [the latter] transcends its national context and becomes part of the broader contemporary art and architecture scenes, involving artists of different abstract art movements. According to Vasarely, he had dreamed of participating in an integrated art project since his time with the Bauhaus. Through the integrated art project in Caracas he began a long relationship with architecture and urban [design] that would continue throughout his career: he recognized it as the definitive integration of his optic-kinetic art within architecture. His works for the university facilities are part of his black and white kinetic period. One may perceive the presence and influence of the future curator Sofia Imber, both in the text and in the title of one of the works.

 

[As a complementary reading on this topic, see the ICAA digital archive “La síntesis de las Artes” [Synthesis of the Arts] by Villanueva himself (doc. no. 864335); the text “Los Artistas Extranjeros de la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas” [The Foreign Artists at the Ciudad Universitaria of Caracas] by Guillermo Meneses (doc. no. 1060120); the text “Ciudades Universitarias México y Caracas” by Guillermo de Torre (doc. no. 1172362); the essay in English “Villanueva and the Uses of Art: The Integration of Painting and Sculpture in His Architecture Constitutes a Unique Achievement of Our Period,” by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy (doc. no. 1172346); the essay “Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas: Una Síntesis de las Artes Plásticas” [Ciudad Universitaria of Caracas: A Synthesis of the Visual Arts] by Antonio Muiño Loureda (doc. no. 864275); the text “Pintura y Escultura en la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas” [Painting and Sculpture at the Ciudad Universitaria of Caracas] by Luis Navarro (doc. no. 864255); and finally, the essay “Una Ciudad de todas las artes en Venezuela” [A City of All the Arts in Venezuela] by Sir John Rothenstein (doc. no. 864294)].

Researcher
Juan Carlos Azpurua
Team
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Credit
Víctor Vasarely, 1979
Location
www.fundacionvillanueva.org / sección : CRV : Obra arquitectónica