François Morellet

  • Born 1926 in Cholet, France
  • Died 2016 in Cholet, France

François Morellet produced drawings, paintings, objects, and installations. In 1960 he co-founded GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel, or Visual Arts Research Group), in Paris, a group of op art and kinetic artists who created works with light, motors, and sculptural materials and encouraged visitor participation. Though Morellet was mostly self-taught, he took some painting lessons from a professional artist. From 1948 to 1975 he led his father’s toy car factory, which allowed him the financial independence to work as an artist, in both Cholet and Paris. In 1950 Morellet turned to abstraction and had his first solo show at the Galérie Creuze in Paris. His paintings, which depict infinite structures of geometric or stylized elements, reflect his application of predefined rules that were also determined by chance. In 1963 he began to use neon tubes that rhythmically switch on and off, which became his favored material for objects and installations. Morellet took part in Documenta, Kassel (1964; 1968; 1977), and in the Venice Biennale (1970), and in 1970 he contributed to the French pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. Morellet’s first retrospective was held in 1977 at the National Gallery in Berlin; his last was in 2011 at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Artworks by François Morellet in the exhibition