Artwork of the month July

François Morellet, Lunatique neonly Nr. 7, 1998

François Morellet

*1926 in Cholet, Frankreich

Lunatique neonly Nr. 7, 1998

Pencil and acrylic on canvas on wood, 8 white fluorescent tubes, 2 transformers 150 x 235 cm, Leinwand Ø 120 cm LSK 99.21

An even spiral has been drawn in pencil on a circular canvas, along which the numbers 00 to 99 have been noted at equal intervals starting from the centre. From eight of these numbers, semicircular neon tubes fan out attached flat to the wall. In his installation, François Morellet uses the traditional media and genres of canvas, drawing and sculpture to explore parameters reformulated in 20th-century art, such as the meaning of a wall, the lighting, the effect on viewers and revealing the makings of a composition. Consequently, the numbers that serve as the point of departure for the segments are not based on a subjective sense of form but on arbitrary chance: the arrangement of numbers on the page a telephone book.

This approach, characteristic of Morellet's work, shows an affinity with that of concrete artists like Max Bill, with whom he had close contact since the 1960s. Determining fac- tors were mathematics, geometry or chance arrangements, and not the artist's own aesthetic sensibility. No longer did the artist embody the traditional role of creative genius and virtuoso maker of a work of art. "I can say with conviction that I have always tried to limit my subjective considerations and my craftsmanship to an absolute minimum in order to give free rein to my simple, plausible and specifically absurd systems."

The Lunatiques Neonly, a series begun in 1996, all follow the same pattern. Morellet has chosen a semantically charged and yet open-ended title, consisting of the words 'moon', 'madness', 'neon' and 'only', referring not simply to the formal appearance of the work but rather describing the viewer's experience of it, In the artist's own words "'Luna' refers not only to the round shape, resembling a full moon, but also to the effect that the moon may have at certain times on those who are moonstruck, causing them to lose their sense of balance."

<b>François Morellet, Lunatique neonly Nr. 7, 1998</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.