Josef Albers: Paintings Titled Variants

Josef Albers,David Zwirner

David Zwirner presents Paintings Titled Variants, an exhibition of work by Josef Albers on view at the gallery’s London location. Organised in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, this exhibition focuses on Albers’s breakthrough Variant/Adobe series, a body of work that was inspired, in part, by the art, architecture, and landscapes that Albers observed during his numerous visits to Mexico and the American Southwest. Paintings Titled Variants is presented in tandem with Black Mountain College: The Experimenters. On view in The Upper Room of the London gallery, this exhibition features additional works by Albers as well as several of his colleagues and students from the famed titular school.

Like his Homage to the Square, the Variant/Adobe works follow a serialised format within which Albers experimented with endless chromatic combinations and perceptual effects. Begun in 1947, while Albers was still a teacher at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, the Variant/Adobe series initiated a new phase in his work. As Brenda Danilowitz, chief curator of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, notes, “with this new series … Josef put aside the linear elements of his paintings and narrowed the medium down to the material of pure paint. He took up the challenge of discovering how paint behaves when subjected to similar restrictions to those that exist in weaving, where it is physically impossible to mix colours, and colour change can only be achieved by the illusion created when two or more juxtaposed threads interact in the viewer’s eye.”1

Titled after the first exhibition of the Variant/Adobe paintings at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, in 1949, Paintings Titled Variantswill feature a range of works from this series, including compositions on Masonite as well as on blotting paper. With their vivid colour palettes, the paintings reflect Albers’s keen and studied sensitivity to and interest in opticality, as well as the way in which the relationship between different colours dramatically impacts the appearance and experience of the work.

Duration 28 February 2023 - 01 April 2023
Times see website
Cost Free
Venue David Zwirner
Address 24 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EZ
Contact / /