Relâche n°4

  • 1992
  • François Morellet
  • Pencil on wall, acrylic paint and oil on canvas, lacquered aluminium, neon tubes, ribbon
  • 360.0 x 314.0 x 0.0 cm

He repositioned the angles in an artful disorder created according to the laws of chance. His elements are positioned in accordance with numbers (from zero to nine) and colours that are selected randomly (here, page 313 of the Maine et Loire phone directory in which his number appears). Rooted in provocation, Morellet’s works appear to belong to geometric abstraction and minimalist art, are in fact influenced by Dadaism. Indeed, the title is a reference to a burlesque Dadaist ballet, Relâche, created in 1924 and presented in Paris by Francis Picabia, Jean Börlin, and Erik Satie.

© Adagp, Paris, 2019 © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


François Morellet

François Morellet received no formal artistic training. For him, his self-taught status gave him freedom.

His discovery of Mondrian, then Max Bill and concrete art at the start of the 1950s led Morellet to geometry: he based his works on a set of arbitrary rules applied in a deductive manner. These rules were both serious and absurd. With Répartition aléatoire de 40 000 carrés suivant les chiffres pairs et impairs d’un annuaire de téléphone  (Random Distribution of 40,000 Squares Following the Even and Odd Numbers of a Telephone Directory, 1961), the title explains the unorthodox method of creating the piece – it is both the result and the demonstration.
A founding member of GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel) alongside Julio Le Parc and Jean-Pierre Yvaral among others, Morellet began working with different types of intervention, in the city, and with architecture. During this period he began to use neon, an industrial material.
Composed of simple geometrical elements, his works are constructed according to rigorous plans, often based on a systematic grid, counterbalanced by chance operations, reflecting a sense of playfulness in the artist, who described himself a "rigorous joker".

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