Vera Molnar: Regarding the Infinite | Drawings 1950-1987

April 9 - May 30, 2015

Vera Molnar
Structure de Quadrilatéres (Square Structures)
computer graphic with Chinese water ink on paper
10 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches

A pioneer of computer art, the Hungarian artist Vera Molnar, born in Budapest in 1924 and a resident of Paris since 1947, has established a prominent position in the field of constructivist-concrete art but is virtually unknown in this country. Working in Paris alongside artists such as Jesus Rafael Soto, Victor Vasarely, and Francois Morellet, Vera Molnar was a founding member in 1960 of the Research Group for Visual Art (“Groupe de Recherche d’art Visuel” or GRAV) which espoused minimal, non-objective image-making, and which later gave rise to the Op-Art and Kinetic Art movements of the following decade. Still active today at 91, her remarkable practice encompasses painting, drawing and collage, computer drawings, photography, and installation. Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present a selection of works on paper from a 37-year period constituting Molnar’s first one-person show in New York. An e-catalogue with essay by art historian Grant D. Taylor, a specialist in early digital arts, will accompany the exhibition. 

The exhibition includes early freehand drawings and collages that pre-date the computer, generated by the artist’s self-invented algorithms or “machine imaginaire”. This method allowed for the creation of image series based on the square which, following a set of pre-ordained compositional rules, did not skip any shape combination. Beginning in 1968, the computer became a central device in the making of her paintings and drawings, allowing Molnar to more comprehensively investigate endless variations in geometric shape and line. Molnar learned the early programming languages of Fortran and Basic, and gained access to a computer at a research lab in Paris where she began to make computer graphic drawings on a plotter, several of which are included in the exhibition. Using the computer’s high calculation speed and signal capacity to arrive at a large number of variables, Molnar nonetheless insists upon the importance of hazard and chance in the final outcome. By injecting small programming “interferences”, she can offset predictable outcomes. The title of her current retrospective, (Dis)Order at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, emphasizes the relationship of order and disorder within her concise visual language. In another body of work, Letters from My Mother, Molnar simulates the handwriting of her mother as it appeared in a series of weekly letters she received, using the computer to reconcile the off-balance and irregular orientation of the script. The drawings were done with the help of a computer and a plotter, and later a printer. The latter show the overlapping of plotter-tracing and actual handwriting, suggesting a dialogue between human and machine.  

Molnar’s work is the subject of a current retrospective, (Dis)Order at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland, co-organized with the Museum fur Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, Germany. Other notable recent one-person exhibitions include Vera Molnar, Une Retrospective 1942-2012, Musée des Beaux Arts, Rouen, France, 2012; and Vera Molnar: Monotonie, Symetrie, Surprise, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, 2006. Group exhibitions include Vera Molnar/Julije Knifer, Fondation Salomon, Alex, France, 2004; On Line: Through the Twentieth Century, Museum of Modern Art New York, 2011; Dynamo, curated by Serge Lemoine and Matthieu Poirier, Grand Palais, Paris, France, 2013; A Brief History of Line, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, 2013; and Abstraction/Figuration, Musée des Beaux Arts, Rennes, France, 2014. In 2005, she was the recipient of the first D.velop Digital Art Award presented by the Digital Art Museum, Berlin, Germany. In 2007, Molnar was appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters, Paris, France, and in 2011, she received the Republic of Hungary’s Order of Merit.  Her work can be found in the following public institutions: Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, Germany; National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts; the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw, Poland, and many other European collections. 

For more information, please contact Betsy Senior or Laurence Shopmaker at 212-213-6767 or at gallery@seniorandshopmaker.com.