Pol Bury

3069 White Dots on an Oval Background


Not on display

Pol Bury 1922–2005
Original title
3069 Points blancs sur un fond oval
Wood, nylon and motor
Object: 673 × 1206 × 254 mm
Purchased 1967

Display caption

Bury was interested in what he called an ‘aesthetic of slowness’, creating mechanical constructions that were characterised by almost imperceptible movement. In this work, white dots move intermittently in front of a plain surface. Sudden twitches of movement are often caught on the periphery of the spectator’s vision, creating a sense of disorientation.

Gallery label, May 2003

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Catalogue entry

Pol Bury born 1922

T00918 3069 Points blancs sur un Fond oval (3069 White Dots on an Oval Ground) 1966

Inscribed '3069 Points Blancs | Pol Bury' on the back
Motorized construction of acrylic-tipped nylon filaments in oval wood panel, 26 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 10 (67 x 121 x 25)
Purchased from the artist through Kasmin Ltd. (Grant-in-Aid) 1967
Exh: Pol Bury, Kasmin Ltd., London, April-May 1967 (works not listed)
Repr: Arts Review, XIX, 22 July 1967, p.266; Michael Compton, Optical and Kinetic Art (London 1967), pl.31 in colour

Pol Bury first became fascinated by the movement of dots in 1958-9 and began by making 'Elastic Punctuations' and 'Luminous Punctuations'. The former consisted of a supple sheet of rubber stretched on a frame and prodded from behind here and there to create strangely organic and moving nodule-like swellings. The 'Luminous Punctuations' were usually produced by piercing a black plane with a constellation of little holes, and making another black plane which had scattered small white dots on it move slowly behind it, so that the spectator only glimpses them momentarily.

The present work is one of his so-called 'Erectile Punctuations', characterised by clusters of soft or stiff elements moving intermittently in front of a plain surface; the tips of the stems are picked out by white dots. Works of this type were first exhibited in his one-man show at the Galerie Smith in Brussels in 1961.

Bury confirmed that the number 3069 is accurate, as the holes were counted at the time of fabrication (letter of 29 May 1978).

Published in:
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.87-8, reproduced p.87

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