curated by Sabine Schaschl
Squares, rectangles, polygons with curved edges, circles and circle segments, reflected, multiplied and placed opposite each other with various color contrasts – these are the key elements of the compositions that Léon Wuidar has been developing since the 1960s. On two floors, Museum Haus Konstruktiv hosted a comprehensive retrospective devoted to this Belgian painter. It was his first exhibition in Switzerland and featured selected works from his oeuvre, which encompasses not only paintings but also sketchbooks, art-in-architecture projects and book cover illustrations.
This self-taught artist started his career in 1955 and, after trying out various figurative styles, began to get increasingly closer to geometric abstraction around the year 1964, whereby he had an underlying interest in constructivist-concrete art, as well as in architecture, space, volume, perspective and light. He found brutalist architecture particularly fascinating. In this regard, he was especially stimulated by Belgian architect Charles Vandenhove, who designed, among other things, the university hospital CHU de Liège in a brutalist style and collaborated with Wuidar on several art-in-architecture projects.
Léon Wuidar’s early paintings from the 1960s and 1970s are dominated by stylized architectural elements, such as columns, roofs or windows. In the 1980s, his vocabulary of forms became more minimalistic, whereas his color palette shifted from natural to brightly colorful hues. In his more recent works, which are sometimes also painted in pastel colors, wordplay can be found as well, conveying Wuidar's affinity with language and typography.
The retrospective at Museum Haus Konstruktiv traced Léon Wuidar’s artistic development and presented his as-yet little-known oeuvre to the Swiss public for the first time. Simultaneously, the exhibition confronted the Zurich Concretists’ strictly systematic art with a freer interpretation of concrete painting.
The exhibition was accompanied by a catalog in English, featuring numerous illustrations, an in-depth text by Sabine Schaschl and an interview that Hans Ulrich Obrist conducted with Léon Wuidar. Available in our shop or online.