Friday, February 19, 2010

Arty Farty Op Art Friday ~ Victor Vasarely & Bridget Riley

I'm comparing the natal charts of two leading proponents of Op Art: Victor Vasarely, its originator, and Bridget Riley. It'll be interesting to note whether there's any key ingredient that would lead artists towards this particular style. Image (left) is Bora iii a painting by Vasarely. To paraphrase a famous quote "It's art Jim, but not as we know it".

Explanation of Op Art

Op Art made its appearance in the United States and Europe in the late 1950s. Op Art, also called Optical Art, was popular along side Pop Art. Branching from the geometric abstraction movement, Op Art includes paintings concerned with surface kinetics. It was a movement which exploits the fallibility of the eye through the use of optical illusions. The viewer gets the impression of movement by flashing and vibration, or alternatively of swelling or warping. Two techniques used to achieve this effect are perspective illusion and chromatic tension. Artists used colors, lines and shapes repetitive and simple ways to create perceived movement and to trick the viewer's eye. Many of first, the better known pieces were made in only black and white.

Victor Vasarely was born in Pecs, Hungary on 9 April 1908 or 1906 (Wikipedia states 1906, but other websites, including Astrotheme say 1908 - both versions shown below.)
Vasarely later became a citizen of France, I'm wondering if the variation in his birth year stems from related official documents.



Bridget Riley born on 24 April 1931 in London, UK

12 noon charts are used for both - no times of birth are available.

I'm looking for something which would connect mathematics and structure (Saturn, Capricorn) and art (Venus and/or Neptune)

Without times of birth the rising sign and exact Moon degree remain unknown - which is a pity. However, there is a relevant similarity in the charts: Venus is sextile Saturn in both - art in harmony with structure and mathematics!

Vasarely's Sun and Saturn in Aries reflect the initiator he was, in introducing this art style to the world. Venus conjunct energetic Mars in communicative Gemini is an echo of that initiation. And Riley's Sun in arty Venus-ruled Taurus trines creative Neptune in detail-oriented Virgo.

A few samples of the work of each artist:




Anonymous said...

When I was student I used to go spend time at the Vasarely's Foundation in Aix-en-Provence, France. Great views of the city and it contained many of his work.

BTW, the foundation, in its website gives 1906 as the birth year.

anyjazz said...

When I was in high school I had a friend who smugly claimed he knew the difference between “OP art and “POP” art. I didn’t care.

One has to admit though, that an artist who originates an art form so different that it needs a new name and classification, is rather unique. It certainly puts their work in a class by itself.

Twilight said...

astrologyunboxed ~~ Ah! Hmmmm.
I've added the 1906 chart to the post - thank you for that information. I wonder how the variation came about? Perhaps connected with his change to French citizenship. Or maybe just someone mis-reading a handwritten document at some stage. It doesn't matter much to people not interested in astrology, I suppose. :-)

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ Yes, and I'd say that originating this particular artform was far more amazing than what was achieved by those who originated other art styles: impressionism, cubism, etc. etc. This was so very different, needed special skills.

Some of Bridget Riley's, in particular, can make you quite dizzy if you stare at 'em for long.

Anonymous said...

You pick such great artists. I don't really go for Vasarely, but I love Bridget Riley. My art school's museum had a rather lovely painting of hers, it used to hang on the wall near the entrance where, in the winter, people would take off their boots and drop them under it. One day I saw some mud from someone's boots had splashed on to the canvas, boy did I bitch out the museum director! They moved the painting away from the entrance.

anthonynorth said...

This is clever stuff. I've seen this kind of art but didn't know any of the artists behind it.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Hi! LOL! A nice memory. Your school decor was far more interesting than my school's !

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ I think their names aren't very well-known outside of art circles. Nowadays, with the advent of computer generated art, their techniques have been copied and even bettered - yet doing it without the aid of a computer, as they did, has to be amazing.

planetarmony said...


I have come to your blog by an "accident" and wow!!!
I feel like meeting someone very close, like an old dear friend.
Can't resist writing you a few words.
I am an op artist myself, born and living in Greece, but educated in Sweden. Astrology passionate and great Beatlefan, Leo with Virgo rising, born 1950.
Your blog is of the most interesting I have ever seen
and wanted to thank you for your great input. I will be around!

Twilight said...

planetarmony ~~~ Hi there!

Oh - it's very kind of you to take the trouble to stop and let me know you enjoy the post. I appreciate that!

Hope to see you around. :-)