Sammer Gallery LL is please to announce the worldwide representation of the Estate of Nikolai Kasak. The gallery will present a solo exhibition of Nikolai Kasak titled “CONFLUENTIA, Physical Art and the Madi Group” in conjunction with the gallery participation at the Pinta Art Fair Miami in December 2016.
Accompanied by archival materials from the Family Estate and a full illustrated catalogue with an essay by Crisitina Rossi, the exhibition will include twelve works that documented his progression from the irregular / Madi period (three of them exhibited at the following exhibitions: International Madi Art - Bonino Gallery, Buenos Aires 1956 and International Madi - Gallery Denise Rene , Paris 1958) , to the constructions of the 60’s. Apart from his technical development, Kasak wrote a number of theoretical essays regarding the importance of positive and negative space in his compositions. Two major works entitled, Physical Art – Action of Positive and Negative, and From Action to Dynamic Silence under what the artist described as Psychical art that facilitated the expansion of his practice into architectural space.
Nikolai Kasak (1917–1994). An artist of Belarusian descent, Kasak began his formal training in the 1930′s in Warsaw, continuing on to Vienna, then Rome. He was originally trained in the academic style of late nineteenth century Realism, until the artist encountered abstract art for the first time in 1945. The artists of De Stijl, Russian Constructivism, and Suprematism had vast influence on Kasak, prompting him to shift his focus from a primarily figure-based aesthetic to pure abstraction. Concentration of form, formulaic compositions, and solid color shapes became the significant structural element in his painting. Upon immigrating to the United States post- World War II, Kasak had the opportunity to exchange creative ideas with other Eastern- European and Russian émigré circles, formulating and fine-tuning his artistic ideology.
Kasak also became involved with the Madi movement of Argentina through Gulia Kosice. It was Piero Dorazio who first sent an image of Kasak's work to be included in the Madi Magazine. Kosice formally invited Kasak in a letter dated January 25, 1950, to be part of the Madi Movement. After acceptance by Kasak, he showed his work in multiples occasion as part of the Madi Group, worth to mention International Madi Art, Galeria Bonino Buenos Aires, 1957, International Madi, Galerie Denise Rene, Paris 1960 and 15 years of Madi Art, Modern Art Museum of Buenos Aires in 1961.
The entirety of Kasak’s approach is based on both rational and non-rational polarities, which supply a tension between the physical aspects (i.e. isolated color forms and geometric structures) and the conceptual implications of his work. In the Kasak’s own words, “the work of art is an independent and active reality in itself, that is a fully invented physical organism, and not a description, imitation, or deformation of anything.” 1
Clearly Kasak’s constructions anticipated a worldwide movement of art liberation from the traditional definition of painting sculpture, an affirmative realization of Kasak’s advocacy of 1947. About fifteen years later in art shows everywhere we have seen a great number of three- dimensional objects under a large variety of labels, such us “Primary, Minimal, Open Form Sculptures,” “Art in Process”, “Op Art”, (in three dimension), “Shaped Canvases”,”Kinetic Art”, and others.
The fundamental characteristics of these works make us think that they, in their greater part, are derived, inspired, or deeply related to the works and basic theoretical principles of Physical Art formulated by Nikolai Kasak in 1947.
1 Nikolai Kasak and John E. Bowlt, “From Action to Dynamic Silence: The Art of Nikolai Kasak,” Institute of Modern Russian Culture, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991, page 15