Page 21 - Studio International - June 1965
P. 21

Pol  Bury  Clinamen in  Art

        8 balls in a stepped cupboard 1964. Wood.   x 50 x 25   Lefebre   New York   by  Simon  Watson Taylor
                                                                                   Pol  Bury  abandoned  surrealism  1n  1945  (after
                                                                                   contributing  paintings  to  that  year's  International
                                                                                   Surrealist  Exhibition  in  Paris).  abandoned  figurative
                                                                                   painting  in  1947.  and  abandoned  abstract  painting.
                                                                                   together  with  his easel and brushes.  in  1953. His first
                                                                                   experiments  with  mobile  constructions  culminated  in
                                                                                   an  exhibition  that  winter  at  the  Galerie  Apollo.
                                                                                   Brussels. of a series of plans  mobiles.  black and white
                                                                                   incised  flat  planes  which  could  be  fitted  together  to
                                                                                   produce a  variety of patterns  and colour contrasts. In
                                                                                   1955.  these  plans  mobiles  appeared  again  at  the
                                                                                   exhibition  Mouvements  organized  by  the  Galerie
                                                                                   Denise  Delrue.  Paris.  together with  work  by  Agam.
                                                                                   Calder.  Duchamp,  Jacobsen.  Soto,  Tinguely  and
                                                                                   Vasarely. From this point.  Bury's invention blossomed
                                                                                   ceaselessly:  1958  saw  his  first  exhibition  of  works
                                                                                   motivated by concealed electric power-the mu/tip/ans.
                                                                                   flat  rectangular  structures composed  of long  slats  set
                                                                                   vertically edge to edge.  each side of the  slats painted
                                                                                   with  part  of  an  overall  abstract  design.  the  design
                                                                                   changing  almost  imperceptibly  as  each  slat  turned
                                                                                   separately  according  to  the  impulse  of  an  electric
                                                                                   motor.  In  1959.  the  Galerie  St.  Laurent.  Brussels.
                                                                                   unveiled  for  the  first  time his  ponctuations:  some  of
                                                                                   these  ponctuations  consisted  of  superimposed.  per­
                                                                                   forated  black  and  white  discs  producing  constantly
                                                                                   evolving and changing contrasts of pattern and shade
                                                                                   as they revolved ; the second series of works shown at
                                                                                   this  exhibition.  entitled  by  Bury  ponctuations  mo/Jes
                                                                                   and  ponctuations  erecti/es.  were  the  first  manifesta­
                                                                                   tions of the technique which was to form the basis of
                                                                                   all  his  subsequent  work  until  quite  recently. These
                                                                                   ponctuations  were  rigid  or  pliable  stems  emerging
                                                                                   from a  plane surface.  actuated by a concealed electric
                                                                                   motor giving a basically non-repetitive stimulus to the
                                                                                   hidden roots of the stems. usually through the irregular
                                                                                   rotation of plates or meshes in more or less loose con­
                                                                                   tact with the stem-roots.  Let  Bury describe them:
                                                                                     · ... what is it all about? ...
                                                                                     . . . from  a  white  . . . or  black  surface  . . .   there
                                                                                     emerges  . . .  a  relatively  large  number  . . .  of  rigid
                                                                                     stems ... or soft stems ... black or white .. .
                                                                                     .  . . animated electrically ... they are agitated ... or
                                                                                     not  . . .   at  unpredictable  moments  .  . by  erectile
                                                                                     movements  and  immobilities  .. . they  also  tend  to
                                                                                     express a ... fairly ... extreme  ... impotence ...
                                                                                     .  . . only the structure itself ... of these black against
                                                                                     white ... rigid ... or soft stems ... is perceptible .. .
                                                                                     and even this varies according to the time of day .. .
                                                                                     according to the light ... on these rigid ... or soft
                                                                                     stems ... black against black ... a white dot ... at
                                                                                     their tips ... crystallises all the movements which are
                                                                                     dictated to them ... by the laws of chance .. .'
                                                                                     1961-2 saw a constant expansion of this conception.
                                                                                   with exhibitions of entires  erecti/es in various galleriec
                                                                                   throughout  Europe.  leading  to  Bury's  most  important
                                                                                   one-man  show  hitherto.  the  exhibition  of  entites
                                                                                   erectiles  at  the  Galerie  Iris  Clert,  Paris,  April  1963:
                                                                                   by  , 10w  the  groping.  swaying.  clutching  groups  or
                                                                                   clumps of stems had been joined by single or multiple
                                                                                   globes  protruding  from  and  seemingly  attached  to  a
                                                                                   plane  surface  or  nestling  in  recesses  sunk  in  the
                                                                                   surface.  globes  which  almost  imperceptibly  moved.
                                                                                   rolled  sideways.  nudged  and  jostled  each  other.  or.
                                                                                   solitary.  revolved  very  slowly  in  irregular  ellipses.
                                                                                     London  was  first  able  to  see  Bury 's  work  at  the
                                                                                   exhibition  'Structures  vivantes.  mobiles.  images·.
                                                                                   organised  by the  Redfern  Gallery  in  M;:irch  1964.  an
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