Dauve's arrangement of lines and surfaces shifts in the eye with a shimmering brilliance. Space is ambiguous, simultaneously concave and convex, and subtle contrasts of colour enliven the canvas. Victor Vasarely is considered by many the father of Op Art. Hungarian born, although later becoming a citizen of France, he came to prominence after his work was included in the groundbreaking 1965 exhibition "The Responsive Eye" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The term Op art - coined by an anonymous journalist writing for Time magazine in 1963 - designates a style and movement of art which explored viewer perception by exploiting optical effects.
The fundamental units of Vasarely's Op Art idiom were derived from the basic elements of geometry: the circle, the triangle and the square. However it was through the application of colour that true opticality was achieved. In the current work a central circle grounds the composition; parallel to it an ambiguous figure folds out of a grid. The aim was to eliminate the conventional figure-ground relation (the central image or motif on a ground), filling the entire surface with a single plane illusion. "Optical Art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing" wrote John Lancaster in his groundbraking book on the movemet (J. Lancaster, Introducing Op Art, London 1973, p. 28).
Although Vasarely championed a technical, quasi-scientific approach to image making, his project was equally motivated by democratic, anti-elitist values. "The Art of tomorrow will be a collective treasure or it will not be Art at all" he declared. Art was to be an integral part of everyday life. The artist hoped his research would find applications in both urban planning and architecture; as such he sought to both enrich and enhance the human environment.