While experimenting with colours and shapes, Victor Vasarely recognised the effects they have on each other as well as on the viewer.
To consciously create compositions, he needed to know the characteristics of colours, their effect on each other as well as how they help form optical illusions. Click on the link and delve into the world of colours. (Dowload the pdf)
“When I choose a blue and black colour scale, I know that I will create a hypnotic composition. If, on the other hand, I use a red and green, a red and orange or a purple and yellow colour scale, I know that I will wake the viewer up from their trance and hit them in the face with the image. I probably set the depths of their soul off into a melody or dance, or make them feel anger or joy. In a word I put them to sleep or wake them up, and between these two poles all the shades of the whole emotional scale are possible.”
In Jean-Louis Ferrier, Entretiens avec Victor Vasarely (Paris, 1969), 56.
During his studies as a young man at Sándor Bortnyik’s school based on Bauhaus principles, he was introduced to Wilhem Ostwald’s colour scales. This provided him a place to begin. Like Ostwald, Vasarely also coded his colours. Every shade had its own code. That is why he wrote numbers on the plans he made for having his pictures made into prints and multiples. Later he used this to develop his Plastic Unit.
In experimenting with colour contrasts Vasarely created his own optical illusion.
Picture: Victor Vasarely: Zilia, 1981