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White Cube News

White Cube in West Palm Beach, Florida


4 February - 26 February 2022

Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm

White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Hungarian artist Dóra Maurer at West Palm Beach. Born in 1937, Maurer is one of Hungary's most influential and significant artists, whose experimental practice – as artist, teacher and curator – spans more than five decades. Bringing together paintings and works on paper from different series, dating from the late 1970s to the present day, Quod Libet showcases her conceptual and pioneering investigation of perception, colour and abstract form.

The earliest works in the exhibition belong to Maurer's 'Displacement' series, produced in the 1970s, which like much of her output systematically traces movement and change. These tempera on paper pictures from 1972, feature coloured rectangles with diagonal bands overlaid across the paper according to a particular system. The result of shifting and re-ordering of the initial form – horizontally, vertically or diagonally – they reference the organising principles of mathematics and the notion of the 'magic square', for the artist, always 'a basic symbol of human existence and thinking'.

The presence of the body and the sense of a free and individual autonomy within an overriding conceptual parameter, characterises Maurer's approach. Playing with spatial illusion and the 'function of seeing', the 'Overlappings' and subsequent 'IXEK' series feature shaped canvas on wood panels – bold, geometric areas of colour, layered to produce an effect of transparency and the sense of a three-dimensional sculptural form. In the 'Overlappings' works, the rectangles are rendered as if projected onto arcing, spherical shapes, their stretched forms emerging from a studied exploration of what Maurer has described as the 'reciprocity of colour and form'. These explorations are furthered in the 'IXEK' series, in which illusional, warping, intertwining and interconnecting areas of colours create complex visual distortions.

Maurer's interest in colour perception derives partly from one of her most consistent points of reference: the Interaction of Colour (1963) by Josef Albers, which she translated into Hungarian.

Maurer was particularly influenced by Albers study of how all colours are effected by their position and their proximity to another colour; an idea that is furthered in these paintings which embrace the emergence of unintended colours and optical colour mixing through pictorial arrangement and elements of chance. Maurer has remarked that, through the process of their construction, she was able to achieve many more colours than originally intended and achieve unexpected tonal results. Similarly, the paintings Biciniak 4 and Bicinies No6, which relate colour to musical experience and to harmony or disharmony, horizontal wooden planes of contrasting colour, overlap or partly cross each other so that one layer can be viewed through another. Creating the illusion of peeling, transparent layers, they effect an immediate, dynamic change of colour and colour perception, that occurs immediately before our eyes.

The 'Quod Libet' series (Quod Libet 47, 1998/2000) from which the title of the exhibition takes its name, interpret conceptual rules with an increasing freedom. In these works, which are based on details from the 'Displacement' series, overlaid coloured rectangular outlines, like empty picture frames, interconnect, shaped with a perspectival distortion as if they are foreshortened, warped or folded back on themselves to create a heightened pictorial illusionism.

Maurer's most recent 'Stage' paintings liberate the planes of colour from each other, separating them out in space, kinetically articulated across the expanse of a wall. Accentuating the object as an agent of action, they exercise what Maurer terms the 'gymnastics of forms', and are inspired by the 'found geometry' of material strewn in landscape. Two new works from this series are featured in the exhibition – Stage 1 produced from 2016-2021 and Stage 5, 2021. ‘Large in scale, featuring 4 and 6 primary-coloured rectangles respectively, they exist in three dimensional space, floating, dancing or falling across the wall as if arrested in motion.'

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