Op art is a style and trend in the visual arts of the twentieth century, based on the use of abstract optical illusions. In op-art, thanks to the peculiarities of the visual perception of the drawn figures, the viewer sees an illusory picture. Before the eyes of a person, flat images wonderfully transform into original volumetric compositions with the effects of movement and bizarre deformation.
Op-art (from English optical art), unlike most other trends in painting, affects, first of all, the mind, and not the emotions of the viewer. Looking at the picture, a person solves a complex puzzle, his brain tries to connect the disparate figures into a single image.
The history of op-art originates from the research of scientists in the field of the peculiarities of human vision. In 1889, Professor Thompson published an article in a scientific journal on optical illusions, in which he demonstrated the effects of motion of visual images using drawn black and white concentric circles.
In art, attempts to create optical illusions were often undertaken by representatives of various avant-garde movements:
The ideas of the Bauhaus artistic association had a huge influence on the formation of op-art.
The founder of the new trend, Victor Vasarely, graduated from the Bauhaus Higher School of Construction and Artistic Design in the late 1920s in the German city of Dessau. There he became interested in innovative architectural and design ideas, and later experimented a lot with illusory images.
In 1955, Vasarely published the Yellow Manifesto, which became the policy document of the new trend. At the same time in the Paris gallery Denise Rene (Denis Rene) took place the first show of the artist’s works.
Op-art achieved worldwide recognition at the American exhibition “The Responsive Eye” in New York in 1965. At this event, the public enthusiastically accepted the work of Vasarely, he had new like-minded people.
Since that time, op-art has become an integral part of modern abstract art. The works of artists are constantly exhibited at exhibitions, there are many creative associations of adherents of this movement.
Interest in optical illusions does not disappear even today. Op-art ideas not only develop successfully in painting, but are also often used in architectural design. Original visual puzzles have long been part of the interior decoration of modern offices and homes of world celebrities.
The names of the most famous op-art artists are well known to connoisseurs of contemporary art. The greatest influence on the formation and development of the flow was exerted by:
- Victor Vasarely. French artist of Hungarian origin. For a long time he experimented with various styles: cubism, surrealism, symbolism, futurism. As a result, in the late 1940s he created op-art and after 20 years achieved worldwide fame. Art critics are unconditionally recognized as the founder of the trend.
- Bridget Riley British artist, designer and set designer. While studying at the art school, she was fond of pointillism, then found herself in op-art. In his creative work, he prefers the creation of large-format works, experiments a lot with shades of different colors.
- Jesús Rafael Soto. Venezuelan master of painting and sculpture. He is well known not only for his paintings, but also for his original three-dimensional installations in the op-art style. The author of a large number of original “Vibrations” – artistic compositions from swinging rods.
- Getulio Alviani. Italian master of optical and kinetic art. He widely used chrome-plated polished surfaces when creating his works. He is also famous for writing a book about Joseph Albers, an outstanding art theorist and designer.
- Richard Anuszkiewicz is an American artist, the son of Polish immigrants. In addition to his active creative activity, he taught art theory at prestigious US universities for many years.