Construction avec plans incurvés, 1954

This work embodies the move from painting to sculpture that Constant began making in 1953. As with his early sculptures inspired by neoplasticism, this is a three-dimensional experiment with his research on spatial colorism in which he suspends color planes in space. Here, the context tends to fade into a colored situation. Made of Plexiglas, a costly and little used material at the time, and hanging from a metallic stand, the sculptures also evoke the Russian constructivism of Gabo and Pevsner. The materials used make it possible to develop abstract volumes, with contours that are both sharp and undefined, floating in space yet cutting it at the same time. These contradictory qualities (the opacity of metal as opposed to the transparency of Plexiglas), the contrasting forms (the orthogonal rigidity of the grid versus the curve of the planes), and the use of color to build the shape, place this work between painting, sculpture and architecture. Thus, Construction with curving planes foreshadows the pure chromatic surfaces without interior or exterior, artificial landscapes in migration that were to be the heart of New Babylon (1956-1974).

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