27. September - 29. January 2017 Unna

PIONEER OF LIGHT ART

François Morellet
François Morellet, Gesticulación, © Frank Vinken
François Morellet, Lamentable + cercle á demi libéré, © Frank Vinken
François Morellet, Neon abscon 64 lampes, © Frank Vinken
François Morellet, No End Neon, © Frank Vinken

François Morellet Exhibition at the Centre of International Light Art

The International Centre for Light Art in Unna, Germany presents 'Morellet', the last exhibition curated by the artist himself before his death in May 2016. François  Morellet has inspired a whole art genre with his unique approach towards light, which has always been the main means of creativity in his works.

When director John Jasper visited Morellet in his atelier in Cholet in the fall of 2015 and told him about his idea for an exhibition at the Centre of Light Art in Unna, the artist was enthusiastic. Morellet was very creative until his final days, but nevertheless, he was very aware of the possibility that he may not live to see the exhibition and present his art personally. Now the artist has died aged 90 and according to a press release the museum presents his retrospective as a kind of farewell. The exhibition showcases early works from the 1960s as well as more recent one from between 2006 and 2015.

Decided to find a new medium to express his creativity, Morellet started usind Neons Determined to discover a new medium of expression, he has been using neon tubes as his favourite material since 1963. During the 60s, Morellet created objects in which the neons would be switched on and off. From the 80s onwards, he used neons in combination with other materials like wood, cloth, aluminium, or acrylic paint. Many of his later works relate to spatial or architectural situations and play with the viewer’s perception of space, as it is the case in his permanent installation 'NO END NEON (Pier and Ocean), 2002' at the Centre for International Light Art.

"Neon keeps me intensively busy. It’s a hard and cold material that I like, and which makes it possible to work with elements like time and rhythm," said François Morellet in 1977. His rigorous use of abstract geometry tends to create works that are emotionally neutral yet aesthetically close to perfection, and has placed Morellet close to minimal and conceptual art. A seemingly emotionless rationality of shortened lines, constructivist lattice design and – often – a cool neon light repeats in his works. Still, his aim is higher: "I love the strictness of geometry, but I love it even more to ignore all strictness," he said in 1988.  

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