François Morellet

2 Trames Inegales avec 10 Interferences, 1973

2 Trames Inegales avec 10 Interferences, 1973

The decisive appearance in 1953 of the orthogonal grid, or double trame (weft) in Morellet’s terminology, was soon to give birth to an apparently infinite series of variations through superposition and rotation. These networks of secant straight lines placed uniformly at different angles across the pictorial surface became increasingly dense, producing disorienting optical effects in black, white, grey and colour. Humorously pursuing his radical questioning of the traditional conventions of creation, Morellet, the iconoclast, not only rejects but makes fun of notions of composition and artistic choice. At the end of the 1950s, he played with perverting his ordered structures by inserting the controlled element of chance, coming either from the irrational number Pi, or from random number selections from the phone book.

The superimposed grids create an illusion of retinal disturbance causing the spectators to lose their bearings in space and time.

François Morellet
2 Trames Inegales avec 10 Interferences, 1973
Acrylic on canvas
140 x 140 cm (55.1 x 55.1 inches)

François Morellet

A major representative of post-war geometric abstraction, François Morellet was one of the pioneers of minimal and conceptual art. As early as his first mature works in 1952, the artist established a process based on a will towards systematicity, neutrality, and formal economy, along with a predilection for seriality, the “all-over,” and anti-composition. As an irreverent heir to concrete art, which he discovered in the early 1950s, Morellet momentarily identified with the optic and kinetic art of the 1960s and was above all a precursor of the “conceptual attitude” generally attributed to artists on the other side of the Atlantic.

François Morellet
Sphère-trames, 1962
Stainless steel
60 cm (23 5/8 inches)

François Morellet
Tableau pivoté à 3° sur son centre avec indication de la médiane 90° avant basculage, 1980
White and black acrylic paint on canvas
91.4 x 91.4 cm (36 x 36 inches)

Together with Joël Stein, Julio le Parc, Francisco Sobrino and Horacio Garcia Rossi, Morellet was a founding member of the legendary artist collaborative Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV), active in France from 1960 to 1968. At the time, Morellet developed a practice of “programmed experimental painting,” in which each work, before being produced, is fully and systematically conceived. His ambitious undertaking, aiming at demystifying the function of the artist and the very nature of art, involved reducing as much as possible the number of arbitrary decisions needed for the creation of his systems—autonomous, mathematical systems with no other meaning than that of their own logic, “systems,” as he said himself, “as rigorous as they are absurd.”


François Morellet

28.9.2018 – 2.6.2018
©1995–2020 Dia Art Foundation


2.3.2011 – 4.07.2011


© 2020 Museum TV
© 2018 Artnet Worldwide Corporation