JULIJE KNIFER, AURELIE NEMOURS, MUSEUM HAUS KONSTRUKTIV, ZURICH

JULIJE KNIFER, AURÉLIE NEMOURS – Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich – 26 October 2017 to 14 January 2018 – Opening: Wed 25 October 2017, 6 pm.

Julije Knifer
Museum Haus Konstruktiv presents a comprehensive exhibition of works by Croatian artist Julije Knifer (1924-2004). Alongside paintings and works on paper, this show, developed in close cooperation with the artist’s daughter, also presents a selection of Knifer’s diaries.

Julije Knifer is considered one of the most important Croatian representatives of non-figurative art. He was a member of the neo-avant-garde artists’ group Gorgona, which was active in Zagreb from 1959 to 1966, distanced itself from the traditional aesthetic practices of socialist Yugoslavia, and sought an exchange with the international avant-garde. Its members combined an affinity for the spirit of modernism with their sense of the absurd, of emptiness and of monotony. From around 1960 onward, Julije Knifer intensively addressed the meander as a form. Well-known from ornamentation, this element, comprising vertical and horizontal lines, can potentially be continued indefinitely. He kept varying it in highly diverse ways until the end of his life, in paintings and in works on paper. In 1971, Knifer began transferring the meander motif to large-scale murals in the public space, both indoors and outdoors. One distinctive feature of his work is that of repetition, as an expression of constancy and continuity. From his drawings to his paintings, right through to his diaries, his works are characterized by an existentialist spirit that causes the boundaries between life and oeuvre to disappear.

Aurélie Nemours
From Swiss private collections
Museum Haus Konstruktiv is devoting a solo exhibition to French artist Aurélie Nemours (1910-2005), which presents various periods in the oeuvre of this grande dame of geometric abstract art, thanks to loaned works from private collections.

Aurélie Nemours, who only started to train as an artist (under André Lhote and Fernand Léger, among others) after first studying art history and archaeology, found a consistent geometric visual language in the 1950s. She adhered to her strictly reduced vocabulary of forms, consisting of horizontals, verticals, rectangles, squares and lines, until her death. Although the oeuvre of Aurélie Nemours can be classified as concrete art, it does clearly differ from works by Zurich Concretists Max Bill and Richard Paul Lohse, who were about her age. The starting point for her geometric compositions, much like those of Piet Mondrian, was more artistic intuition than a strictly mathematically calculated system. The fact that her fine sense of form, color and rhythm could nevertheless be linked to logical design principles is demonstrated, in particular, by the serial works that Nemours developed to an increasing extent in the 1970s. One of her most famous series, for instance, is the body of works entitled Rythme du millimètre, which she spent over a decade developing. Examples from this series are to be shown at Museum Haus Konstruktiv.

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