Painting Center is pleased to announce the exhibition “Light, Time and
Motion: Paintings by Tibor Freund.” This is part of the re-discovery
and the re-evaluation of this mid-twentieth century artist.
Accompanying the exhibition will be an essay by Lynn Crawford, editor,
art critic and poet. A retrospective monograph of Tibor Freund’s work,
authored by art critic, poet and essayist, John Yau, will be published
by Hard Press Editions in 2008.
Freund’s interest in kinetics, luminosity, space, temporality, and
surface place him in a high profile, international, artistic community.
One thinks of the iron sculptures of Jean Tinguely; the grids of Victor
Vasarely; the Op works of Bridget Riley. Perhaps what sets Freund apart
from his better-known colleagues is that his paintings emphasize
nature, body, even objecthood; they convey a ringing physicality.
Freund had an unusual nomadic professional life before moving to New
York in 1953 and beginning to paint seriously. In 1932, he earned an
architecture degree in Zurich. Eight years later he went to Tehran,
built a sample town and was a maintenance artist for the Golden Mosque,
opened a portrait studio and eventually supervised the architecture of
the Palace of Justice. In 1947, he returned to Budapest and continued
his work on architecture and industrial designs. But he, like many
individuals at that time, was displaced by the expansion of the Soviet
Empire and relocated, first to Israel, where he lived for four years.
Finally, he came to New York and it was here that he chose to obtain
citizenship and pursue his architecture and art rigorously (Freund died
Freund’s decades-long success in New York was due primarily to his
creation of “motion paintings” in 1957 “to show our world in motion as
seen by the spectator in motion.” He acknowledged the influence of
fellow Hungarian born artist, Maholy-Nagy, whose book, Vision in
Motion, brought up the issue of the mobile viewer. By fusing up to 4
picture planes into a single composition, Freund was able to create the
illusion of change and motion as the viewer looked at the painting from
various angles, thus capturing the modern tempo surrounding him. In
1962-3, Freund’s theory of PAINTING IN SPACE predicted that he would
“set canvas-bound painting free” and would show the way to future
painters to express, with contemporary means, the liberation of
Painters create the illusion of 3 dimensional SPACE
by putting paint onto 2 dimensional PLANES.
In order to create the illusion of 4 dimensional MOTION
I am putting paint into 3 dimensional SPACE.
Thanks to collector, Michael Chutko, together with artist Raffaele
D’Onofrio, Freund was “rediscovered.” After acquiring his first
painting, Mr. Chutko went to visit the artist in his Jackson Heights,
New York apartment and was taken aback by the quality and depth of what
he saw. He realized he had stumbled upon someone who had significant
relevance to the art movements of the late 1950s and early 1960s. With
this discovery, Mr. Chutko brought friend and artist, Raffaele
D’Onofrio on a consequent visit to the artist’s home. D’Onofrio
recalled Freund’s work from the 1960s and both agreed on the urgency
and importance of re-introducing Tibor’s work to the world. Their
discovery led to conserving these works, and to this exhibition of work
that remains acutely relevant today.