Unceasing curiosity coupled with unyielding tenacity is undoubtedly the fundamental prerequisite for setting oneself a single task for more than twenty-five years: variations on the square. That is what Bauhaus pupil and teacher Josef Albers did in America, his adoptive country, where he taught many of the post-war vanguard’s chief protagonists at the influential Black Mountain College. Making exclusive use of industrially manufactured paints whose technical designations he consistently noted on the back of the respective canvas, Albers carried out his series “Homage to Square”. Here he experimented with changeability in the combination of several squares of differing colours on a likewise square picture surface. You will notice immediately: however unequivocal its two-dimensionality, the composition of squares creates a surprising illusion of spatial depth, which changes depending on your angle of view. With the choice of the square as format and subject alike, Albers remained loyal to what had been the central form of modern art from Malevich to Mondrian. At the same time, his serial approach made him a forerunner to Minimal Art.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018