Name: Vera Molnar
Country of Origin: HU
Vera Molnar (also known by her maiden name, written Gaks Vera a.k.a GV) is a Hungarian-born artist, born in Budapest in 1924. She is considered a pioneer of digital and algorithmic art and many have designated her the first female digital artist. Steeped in a pictorial legacy characteristic of Eastern Europe, she moved to Paris in 1947 to develop an experimental and highly committed career. She lives in Paris, where she continues to work. She has been creating art since she was eight years old.
At first glance, her painting practice can be classified as geometric abstraction, utilizing a basic vocabulary based on the line, the circle, the square and the meander. However, Molnar has spent much of her career developing an intense theoretical reflection on ways of creating and mechanisms of vision. Inspired by Mondrian, Malevich and the concrete art movement, she states that she has a fascination with all work undertaken with “exact sciences and mathematics in particular”. From this foundation, she introduces to the rigor of her work a certain amount of chance, a “hint of disorder” to shake up its strict algorithmic conception.
She had already created a large body of traditional work when she began experimenting with computation as part of her practice.
In 1956, she met François Molnar who would later become her husband. Abandoning his pictorial practice to assume the directorship of a research laboratory at CNRS, François Molnar accompanied and enriched the work of the artist during the first twenty years of her career. Together they met Victor Vasarely and Julio Le Parc, who implemented the beginnings of optical art and cinétique. However, Vera Molnar stayed away from these movements to develop her systematic painting style and lay the foundations of what Serge Lemoine calls “French minimalism”
As a Grande Dame of digital art, Molnar continues to work in both analog and digital media — and in fact it is sometimes difficult to tell if a piece of hers is done on a computer or painted with acrylic. Her constructivist interests mesh seamlessly with basic computation opportunities. Molnar is a wonderful example of how the computer can be a powerful tool in the right hands. Her precise, sensitive modulations of placement and angles take minimalist ingredients and create a complex feast for the eyes.
During this period, Molnar refused to “play the game” of seeking artistic recognition from galleries and institutions. The absence of “publicity” given to the artist delayed her recognition by the public considerably.
Represented in museums all over the world, Molnar recently had a retrospective in Metz and was included in the Elle 200 show at Center George Pompidou. A show in Hungary compared her to Cezanne.
In 1968, she became one of the pioneers of computer use in artistic creation, a tool that, in her words, allowed her art to “free itself from a classical heritage sclerotic” while enabling her to maintain full control of her compositions. Vera Molnar today enriches an already renowned body of work with new systematic constructions in bright colors.