Jean-Pierre Yvaral

Kinetic Relief - Optical Acceleration


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Not on display

Jean-Pierre Yvaral 1934–2002
Original title
Relief cinétique - Accélération optique
Painted wood, cardboard, plastic and vinyl cord
Object: 1010 x 991 x 108 mm
Purchased 1964

Display caption

During the 1960s, Yvaral experimented extensively with optical effects caused by the superimposition of patterns and by the changing position of the viewer. The term ‘optical acceleration’ refers to a perception of movement in the work that appears to be more rapid than the viewer’s own movement in front of the work. At this time Yvaral worked only in black and white, using repetitive motifs that invite the eye to scan the overall surface of the artwork.

Gallery label, October 2016

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Catalogue entry

Yvaral born 1934

T00716 Relief cinétique - Accélération optique (Kinetic Relief - Optical Acceleration) 1963

Not inscribed
Painted wood, cardboard and vinyl cord, 39 3/4 x 4 1/4 (101 x 99 x 11)
Purchased from the artist through the Hanover Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1964
Exh: Nouvelle Tendance, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, April-May 1964 (works not numbered, detail repr.) as 'Accélération optique'; The Labyrinth, Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, June-July 1964 (works not numbered, detail repr.) as 'Relief Fil Vinylique'; Movement, Hanover Gallery, London, December 1964-January 1965 (works not listed)
Lit: Otto Hahn, Yvaral (Paris 1974), pp.15-18, detail repr. p.16
Repr: Michael Compton, Optical and Kinetic Art (London 1967), pl.5

During his period of involvement with the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel (1960-8) Yvaral worked exclusively in black and white, and was concerned mainly with the systematic analysis of moiré effects, produced by the use of vinyl cords.

He wrote on 30 September 1965: 'This work "Relief cinétique - accélération optique" forms part of my research into moiré effects, optical acceleration, and the visual instability obtained by the shift in position of the spectator. "Optical acceleration" means that the movement perceived in the work appears to be more rapid than the movement of the spectator. It should also be noted in this work that its elaboration is based on the anonymity and uniformity of the forms themselves, in such a manner that the eye is not drawn to any single element or part of the work but, on the contrary, takes in the surface in its entirety.

'The technique used (transparent vinyl cord in front of a network of black and white) was first used in my work in 1961.'

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, p.767, reproduced p.767

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