Galerie Rive Gauche, Les Peintures Recentes de Pavel Tchelitchew, Paris, 1956, no. 14
Gallery of Modern Art, Pavel Tchelitchew, New York, 1964, p. 68, no. 326
Katonah Museum of Art, Pavel Tchelitchew: The Landscape of the Body, Katonah, 1998, p. 51
From 1950 to 1956, Tchelitchew embarked on a series of Space Compositions, extensions of his earlier Interior Landscapes. Increasingly fascinated with the inner workings of the body, he represented the organism as a "filigrane of illuminated skeins, a net of linear tracks, rather than as a glassy or icy continuous, transparent surface" (Lincoln Kirstein, Gallery of Modern Art, Pavel Tchelitchew, 45). Varying colors signified different bodily elements: "Nerves traditionally are fiery red; bones are golden earth; lymph, watery green; veins and arteries, blue; the glandular system, celestial air unperturbed by wind or current, immobile, white. Blank spaces, left between the light tracks established rhythmically a depth in space and its plastic shape" (Ibid., 47).
It was in his Space Compositions that Tchelitchew truly let go of the corporeal world, trading anatomy for pure geometry. Physical forms devolved into pure bands of light, leaving behind mosaic-like patterns of light and darkness. Applying his characteristic metamorphic touch, Tchelitchew rendered these spiraling structures from varying viewpoints, thus emphasizing their perpetually agitated motion and affirming their lively, incandescent existence.
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