Vera Molnar - Sainte-Victoire On-Line

Vera Molnar - Sainte-Victoire On-Line

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The motif of the Montagne Saint-Victoire -so dear to Cezanne- holds a unique place in Vera Molnar’s work.


As I studied fine art in Budapest, I discovered a fantastic mountain that was omnipresent in some of Cezanne’s paintings: the Sainte-Victoire. Delighted, I localized it on the French map and decided to live there one day.

Then time went by and I forgot the Sainte-Victoire Mountain. Some forty years later, become a geometric non-figurative painter and a bit tired of manipulating circles, ellipses and other hyperboles, I started to look into the Gaussian. To this bell shape that I found too symmetrical, I added a bit of mess: some random irregularities here and there, combining order and disorder.

Then one day, in an exhibition held in Aix, I found myself in front of the Sainte-Victoire, which looked like “my” Gaussian, with perturbations on x and y exactly as I imagined it. Since I had nothing to draw with me, I quickly made some tears on a piece of paper and patched it up to capture the idea.

Later, I started to “seriously” study this curve made mountain (or mountain made curve?).

The basic outline was set after a succession of 28 points drawn from a Cézanne painting (Sainte-Victoire, 1905, State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow). The points, randomly placed on x and y, were connected by a line. Computer technology came very handy for this kind of research.

The result of this process was a series of laser-printed engravings on which the number of iterations–meaning outlines- was going from 1 to 2048 along with the pages (Variations Sainte-Victoire, 1996).

Such density of lines, such mad tangle could not be handmade. You could dream about it, then the computer would model it and the printer engrave it: here freedom and rigor meet. To my biggest joy, they are not irreconcilable.

The next step (Sainte-Victoire Blues/1, 1997) came from the very first tears I had done. When working around them again, I wanted to go the furthest away possible from the rigorous approach that computer work requires. So I freely and randomly ripped 20 sheets of different blue papers without looking at what I was doing but gazing at a reproduction of Cezanne, the one that had inspired my first computer variations. The patched up the ripped papers yet leaving a small space in between, a tiny interstice to outline the mountain.

The mountain keeps following me and I recently picked up my work again. This time, I have designed the variations around one single line that goes from the left to the right, continuously going back to the left and turning around to the right over and over.

Handmade at first, with pencil and ink, these variations were then computer-made and printed. The number of back and forth increased from 2 to 32 from one page to another. The line also went thicker along the way.

To conclude my mountain series, I would like to work with blue again and make a version of it where its outline would emerge out of short horizontal segments.

Sainte-Victoire On-Line

Data sheet

150 x 50 cm
8 copies + 4 artit's copies
Numbered and artist’s certificate
Pigment printing on Canson paper 310g
Publication date

Molnar (Véra)

Born 1924 (5th January) in Vera Gacs, Budapest. Lives and works in Paris as well as in Normandy

1942-47 studied painting and for a diploma in art history and aesthetics at the Budapest College of Fine Arts. 1946 first non-representational images are created. 1947 artists′ fellowship in Rome at the Villa Julia moved to France. 1947-60 occasional co-operation with François Molnar. 1948 marriage to François Molnar. 1959-68 works with the machine imaginaire method. 1960 Co-founder of the Groupe de Recherche d′Art Visuel (GRAV) first participation in an exhibition organized by her friend Max Bill with the title Konkrete Kunst (Concrete Art) in Zurich, Helmhaus. 1967 Co-founder of the Group Art et Informatique at the Parisian Institut d′Esthétique et des Sciences de l′Art. 1968 first computer graphics are designed: thereafter continuous work with the computer. 1976 development of the "Molnart" computer software programme jointly with her husband first single exhibition Transformations at the gallery of the London Polytechnic. 1979 works at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, at the Atelier de Recherche des Techniques Avancées (ARTA). 1980 member of the Centre deRecherche Expérimentale et Informatique des Arts Visuels(CREIAV) at the Université de Paris I, Sorbonnethe first artist′s book 1% de désordre is published by Wedgepress & Cheese in Bjerred (Sweden). 1985-90 lectureship in fine arts and aesthetics and art history at the Université de Paris I, Sorbonne. 1990 her works are on display at major European exhibitions on non-representational art and avantgarde the first installative work is created for the Foundation of Concrete Art, Reutlingen . 1999 large monographic exhibition Extrait de 100 000 milliards de lignes at the Centre de Recherche, d′Échange et de Diffusion pour l′Art Contemporain (CRÉDAC) in Ivry-sur-Seine. 2005 recipient of the first d.velop digital art award [ddaa] for her life′s work, organised annually by the Digital Art Museum [DAM] and honoured with an individual exhibition by the Kunsthalle Bremen

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