Abraham A. Moles
Cyclophoria
1971

Elaborate examination of enchantment with color represents a new stage in Picelj’s work. If art is programmatically prescribed sensitivity to environment, geometrical art is rich only for a mathematic enthusiast. For a sensory observer the strictness of scale and simple forms in their clarity align geometrical art primarily to “cold art” with pronounced order, and “barren art” that strives for the sensory through ascetic procedures. Color is the sumptuous garment of Geometry. Picelj systematically deposits his means into it in order to construct programmed sensitivity of visual spectacle, which must first delight us to keep us as viewers. Through his work each artist strives to master perception; thus Picelj also tries to involve us into his personal quest for the delightful. In this process he remains faithful to modules from his earlier works, a circle interwoven with a horizontal grid that generates the impression of convexity, which we can find already in his prints from 1966. An uncompromising artist does not shape the visual field with diversity of forms, but through the variety of combinations. In this area, for the forms that already have a certain grade of freedom, Picelj elaborates a variegated system of color impulses, which have a direct impact on the optic sensitivity of the retina. With his fluorescent colors the artist exposes himself to the risk of saturation of each shade. In that way he constructs rigid optic “warmth” as counterbalance to the distribution of lines and the direction of shapes, lighting up the form. Thus each of his works is an attempt at engaging this topic. In one instance the module is inscribed into a larger circular composition, thus drawing the eye into a visual game — because the world is probably round in Van Gogh’s words, and in the other colored horizontal fields expose the eye of the observer to differentiation of minimal details, which has, among other sources, been done at Bauhaus as well. In this series of works most impressive is a circular composition in the successive series of prints, be it radial or concentric, be it based on the gliding of the gaze along the lines of the modular grid or along their circular trajectory. This trajectory is often disturbed by lines that strive for a different pattern, and not completed. This entire art is about self-restraint; this is discreet and efficient programmatic determination of the gaze movement along the painted field that contains pleasure, deceit, failure and return. It is about persisting on circular shapes, and according to Lukacs here the center is not just a single point, but the entire area, an entire area of action. These are the topics of this new search, which, by deserting the cold sensuality of surfaces consisting of polished metal, demands humanization of Geometry from Color.

Foreword to
the Cyclophoria Print Portfolio
1971