5. Art in time and space
Oliver Bevan's kinetic paintings and a third set of Modern Masters in 1973-74.By 1973 Oliver Bevan's optical and geometric art had evolved into kinetic
paintings that selected colours 'in time as well as space'. This was achieved using polarizing filters sandwiched between acrylic discs. The filters were positioned
one behind the other and backlit by fluorescent tubes, with electric motors
rotating the discs in opposite directions. The result was a mesmerizing display
of changing colours and shifting shapes that cycled slowly over time.
One of these kinetic paintings was used for the covers of the Fontana Modern Masters in 1973-74. The books dispensed with cut-ups but kept the incentive
to collect all ten, as the blurb on the back explained:
The cover of this book is one of ten views of a kinetic painting, Pyramid, by Oliver Bevan. The painting is made of transparent materials which only assume colours when illuminated by polarized light. When the plane of polarization is rotated slowly (which happens mechanically in a box designed to display the painting) the colours pass through a recurring cycle of change. Ten points of that cycle have been recordedHowever, with eleven books in the first set and nine in the second it was perhaps no surprise that this third set of ten proved equally elusive. Eight were published when Fontana's art director John Constable resigned and was replaced by Mike Dempsey,
to provide covers for the third set of ten volumes.
who scrapped the set-of-ten incentive and with it Bevan's pyramids.
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