François Morellet. Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory, 50% Blue, 50% Red. 1960

François Morellet Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory, 50% Blue, 50% Red 1960

  • Not on view

Morellet began making abstract work in the 1950s. Together with Sérgio Camargo, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Julio Le Parc, Morellet founded the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel (Visual art research group), which experimented with collective authorship and with art based on kinetic and optical experiments. In their application of science and technology, the group created new types of optical experience. Morellet based his compositions on the rules of geometry and mathematical progressions, but also allowed chance operations to enter into the decisionmaking process. To create Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Using the Odd and Even Numbers of a Telephone Directory he used data from a telephone book as source material. After he divided the canvas into 40,000 squares, his wife or his sons read the numbers from the phone book out loud, while he moved across the canvas, marking a square for each even number and skipping a square for each odd one. He then colored the marked squares blue and the blank ones red.

Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.
Oil on canvas
40 5/8 x 40 5/8" (103 x 103 cm)
Enid A. Haupt Fund
Object number
© 2021 François Morellet / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture

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