6. 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.
kinetic painting by Oliver Bevan
   A kinetic painting by Oliver Bevan.
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 recorded
to provide covers for the third set of ten volumes.
However, 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, who scrapped the set-of-ten incentive and with it Bevan's pyramids.

Popper by Bryan Magee, 1973 Einstein by Jeremy Bernstein, 1973 Laing by Edgar Z. Friedenberg, 1973 Beckett by A. Alvarez, 1973 Weber by Donald G. MacRae, 1974
Le Corbusier by Stephen Gardiner, 1974 Kafka by Erich Heller, 1974 Proust by Roger Shattuck, 1974 the missing ninth title the missing tenth title
The third set of Fontana Modern Masters in 1973-74.
One of the missing books was Tocqueville, which Fontana published in 1973 with a different front cover, though aside from that it was identical to the other Modern Masters, and according to its author it was meant to be one but "the series editor [Frank Kermode] was not yet willing to include a nineteenth-century thinker".

'Tocqueville' by Hugh Brogan
Tocqueville by Hugh Brogan, Fontana, 1973.
However, Darwin, Engels, Marx and Nietzsche were subsequently published as Fontana Modern Masters so perhaps Kermode felt Tocqueville was not, as the other books declared, one of "the men who have changed and are changing the life and thought of our age".