Permanent Collection

Elena Asins

Madrid, 1940 - Azpíroz (Navarra), 2015
"Untitled", 1975
Untitled, 1975

Asins embarked on her artistic career with an ardent commitment to produce abstract paintings of a constructivist nature, a style known in Spain in the 1960s as "normative art." Trained in Madrid, Paris and Stuttgart —where she attended Max Bense’s course on aesthetics—she actively participated in the Seminar for the Analysis and Automatic Generation of Visual Forms established in 1968 by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid’s Calculus Center. There she experimented for the first time with the use of computers for artistic purposes, an approach she later developed during a lengthy period in New York.

After her initial stage as an abstract constructivist painter, Asins gradually stripped the painting’s surface of all materiality—images and figures—in order to obtain what she considered essential: numerical relations. Her work strove for a Pythagorean beauty that required the elimination of all superfluous qualities of painting, such as color, texture, appearances and resemblances. With time, her work became increasingly radical, until she only used very fine black lines on a white background, or white lines on a black background, thus achieving the illusionistic sensation of representing planes or bodies located in space.

This is the case with the present untitled painting, in which four fine parallel white lines cut through the narrow canvas from top to bottom. Separated from each other by a distance previously determined by numerical series, the vertical lines branch into other lines that assume different directions, breaking the isotropy of the original group, and thus generating a visual tension that has no expressionist or narrative intention.

Javier Maderuelo

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Catálogo del Museu Fundación Juan March, Palma de Mallorca.