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Pol Bury and the ZERO mouvement

Pol Bury in the sixties (courtesy of the net)

Artist biography

Born in La Louvière, Belgium, on April 26, 1922, Pol Bury studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Mons from 1938 to 1939, where he became influenced by the work of René Magritte and Yves Tanguy; in these years, he joined a group of Surrealist poets that included Achille Chavée. The paintings he produced in the late 1930s and first half of the ’40s were included in the 1945 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme held in Brussels.

The focus of Bury’s art shifted in 1952 after he visited an exhibition featuring Alexander Calder’s work. His early kinetic sculptures were presented in the 1955 group exhibition Le Mouvement at Galerie Denise René in Paris. The exhibition proved particularly influential for the international ZERO network, and Bury went on to participate in ZERO exhibitions and contribute to Heinz Mack and Otto Piene’s ZERO journal.

Pol Bury, Multiplans, 1957, (© Collection Letailleur)

The movement of Calder’s mobiles captivated Bury, and in 1957 he began producing sculptures with moving components by creating motor-propelled weathervane-like sculptures. Bury's favourite materials were stainless and Cor-Ten steel, polished brass, and copper: those metals gave to his work a sensual effect: it embraces the reflections and light effects produced by the interaction of metal and water in the open air. Similar in many ways to his kinetic sculptures, the numerous fountains that Bury designed throughout his lifetime involve arrangements of cylinders and spheres that move slowly and irregularly, prompting elements to twist, tilt, or spin. In the late 1960s, the artist created his first public work, a fountain on the campus of the University of Iowa Museum of Art in Iowa City. Bury died on September 28, 2005, in Paris.

Pol Bury, bracelet (courtesy of the net)

In 2017, BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels opened “Pol Bury Time in Motion”, a show which comprehensively traces the trajectory of his career, from Surrealist paintings to international acclaim. Today, his works are held in the collections of Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London.


Zero is an international artistic grup founded in the early 60's in Düsseldorf, Germany, by Heinz Mack and Otto Piane, two young artists to cotest contested an European cultural flattening

Those artists, (between them Pol Bury, Yves Klein, Arman, Jean Tinguely, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and Christian Megert) felt the need of a more free communicative space, demanding to be allowed to discover with new expressive way to communicate through art. They start using different materials, new artistic procedures, mediated by science and technology.

They were looking for a new beginning of the artistic activity, a kind of a re-vergination of the concept of art and, first of all they want to erase previous exeriences and break the paradigmatic pictorial and sculptorial past.

This movements, beginning from this diktat, was called ZERO, and indeed the artists were talking about operating in a "Zero-Zone": an empty and therefore freer and larger mental space to create a freer and enlarged art. Enlarged art by completely reconsidering the artistic space, changing the usual elements of colors (think about the most innovative Blue Klein - IKB), such as light and movement.

Pol Bury's fountain in Palais Royal, Paris

Auctions results According to the website, the turnover of Bury's artworks in 2018 (91 lots sold) worths 833K dollars, and the price evolution in 2018 is plus 49.7%: $100 invested in a work by Pol Bury in 2000 would be worth an average of $689 (+ 589%) in December 2018.

From the beginning of the century, Agam's biggest buyer is the France with a rank of 5.8 millions dollars (60% of lots sold), while in his native country is 1.46 (15%), and US is $815K (8%).

There are no artworks by Pol BURY currently listed in upcoming public auctions.

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