Zoltan Kemeny 1907-1965
T00815 Banlieue des Anges
(Suburb of Angels) 1957
Inscribed 'KEMENY' b.r. and 'KEMENY 48' on wooden backing
Patinated and painted brass relief of square tubular sections on a rectangular sheet, the whole mounted on wood, 26 1/2 x 27 3/4 x 3 (67.5 x 96 x 8)
Purchased from Julian Aberbach through the Hamilton Galleries (Grant-in-Aid) 1966
Prov: With Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (purchased from the artist); Julian Aberbach, New York
Exh: Zoltan Kemeny, Kunsthaus, Zurich, April-May 1959 (27); Documenta II, Kassel, July-October 1959 (Kemeny 3, repr.), incorrectly dated 1958; Kemeny, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, May-June 1960 (no catalogue, but detail repr. on poster); Zoltan Kemeny, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, October-December 1966 (19, repr.); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, January 1967 (19, repr.); Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, April-June 1967 (18)
Lit: Gaétan Picon and Ewald Rathke, Kemeny: Reliefs en Métal (Paris 1973), No.40, p.208, repr. p.54
Repr: Michel Ragon, Zoltan Kemeny (Neuchâtel 1960), pl.31
The artist's widow wrote (26 May 1966): 'When I questioned my husband on the significance of this title "Banlieue des Anges", he replied: "I do not intend to reproduce an imaginary rhythmic landscape. The relief is neither a portrait nor a landscape. It is simply the reproduction of a personal vision in 2 1/2 dimensions, later perhaps, it will be in 3-4 dimensions or 5 dimensions.
'"The titles of the reliefs are a pure coincidence.
'"From the very smallest forms to the biggest, everything interests me. From the skin of a microbe, to galaxies.
"'I draw a lot - until the moment when I no longer know whether I am making use of natural forms or whether I have myself become part of the forms of nature."'
Mme Kemeny added: 'Personally I am of the opinion that the titles have links with the works, despite the fact that in most cases Kemeny gave them titles after their completion. They give them an added poetic meaning - of which "Banlieue des Anges" is a typical example.
'To make the relief "Banlieue des Anges", Kemeny chose components of brass, which he grouped according to his inspiration.
'In reaction against the many facile formulae of the period (1957), he strove for precision, mature creation and painstaking workmanship.'
'Banlieue des Anges' can be compared to 'Chercheur d'Amitié' 1956 in which similar elements are used in a more compact way and on a near-horizontal/vertical axis.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.384-5, reproduced p.384