49 boules de même couleur sur un plan incliné mais surélevé

During the 2020 Brafa art fair, the Charles Vreeken Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, acquired a major kinetic work created by Pol Bury, 49 boules de même couleur sur un plan incliné mais surélevé.

The Charles Vreeken Fund has as its mission to support museums in Belgium through the acquisition of works and support for projects that build awareness about them. 

An emblematic figure in post-war art and a pioneer of kinetic art, Pol Bury (1922-2005) studied at the Mons Academy of Fine Arts. He soon became of a member of the surrealist movement and later joined the Cobra movement.

It was in 1950, during a visit to the Alexander Calder exhibition at the Galerie Maeght in Paris, that he decided to develop the concept of moving works of art. He created his ‘Plans mobiles’ and ‘Multiplans’, compositions whose movement was generated by the wind, an electric motor or by the involvement of spectators. Throughout his artistic life, Pol Bury never ceased examining the relationship between the work of art and the spectator, inviting the latter to use all the senses for the benefit of the work. In 1955, he exhibited works in Paris alongside other pioneer kinetic artists, including Vasarely, Alexander Calder and Jacobsen. The exhibition, entitled ‘Le Mouvement’, marked the launch of kinetic art.

Living in the outskirts of Paris, Bury turned to creating real three-dimensional sculptures, whose forms were reminiscent of furniture, such as a bookcase, a lectern or a wardrobe. Initially, he worked with recycled materials for reasons of cost. It was only after his early success in the USA that Pol Bury had the financial means to purchase materials and create sculptures in pure, geometric shapes, which explored gravity and the illusion of movement. It was during this period, in 1966, that he created the sculpture 49 boules de même couleur sur un plan incliné mais surélevé (49 balls of the same colour on an inclined but raised plan). This was therefore one of the first works for which Pol Bury had purchased his own materials, leading to a better quality. In 1967, he began working in metal, a more flexible material, which enabled him to experiment with shapes, surfaces and mirror effects. At the end of the 1960s, he moved on to a different scale of work and began to create monumental sculptures, including for various urban projects.

Always eager to innovate, Pol Bury continued to re-invent his output, adopting a range of materials and techniques, always searching for real movement, but movement that was slow and barely perceptible. His works were masters of time, hypnotizing the spectator. Often imbued with a sense of humour, Pol Bury’s works surprise and amuse, with unforeseeable movements creating sounds, rustling and rhythms. 

Pol Bury’s works, first appreciated by the art worlds of Paris and New York, quickly built an international reputation for him as the pioneer of kinetic art and master of slow movement. 

His work 49 boules de même couleur sur un plan incliné mais surélevé is one of his most important creations, as much for the quality of the materials he used as for its surrealist inspiration. In fact, the artist chose to have the balls going up a long, inclined plan, which goes totally against the onlooker’s common sense and reminds us of Bury’s surrealist years when he was a young man. The sculpture is exhibited at the L Museum at Louvain-la-Neuve.

Material / technique: 
Stained wood, cork, electric motor
186 x 60,5 x 113 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired by the Charles Vreeken Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
L Museum