Los Angeles

Pol Bury

Landau Gallery

Belgian artist Pol Bury is a poet, a meticulous craftsman, and a highly inventive and original talent. After showings in Los Angeles and New York his reputation in this country is advancing rapidly to challenge a phenomenal respect already enjoyed in Europe through his success at the 1964 Venice Biennial and other major survey exhibitions on the continent. Essentially a Surrealist, Bury, now 43 years old, abandoned literary images about 1945 and stressed organization of three-dimensional forms which, by 1953, had become motorized. Bury’s poetic approach to mechanized construction places natural emphasis on grace and elegance of movement in sharp contrast to the bombast and violence typical of a Tinguely invention. The motorized action is nearly imperceptible as it silently proceeds to stir white-tipped bristles, shift metal prongs, rearrange wood knobs, and roll polished spheres supporting life in environments peculiar to the individual species. Spectators are challenged to ascertain patterns of activity and while much of it is controlled, elements of chance are also at play, making relative positions as unpredictable as ripening wheat waving in a summer breeze.

Whereas the kinetic pieces emphatically demonstrate Bury’s genius for invention, his collages—“cinematisations” they are called—appear repetitious and mannered relying heavily upon a visual gimmick not unlike that reflected by distorting mirrors at carnivals. Subjecting the Mona Lisa to this treatment was quite unforgivably obvious.

Curt Opliger