It was Theo van Doesburg who coined the term 'Concrete Art', defining it in the one and only edition of the magazine Art Concret (1930). Such art should be 'formed by the mind before its execution' and be constructed 'from purely plastic elements, that is to say planes and colours'. It should not seek to represent, however abstractly, the outside world but be selfsufficient. Nor should it be a personal expression of the artist - technique was to be 'mechanical' and 'anti-impressionistic'.
If the magazine didn't prosper, the art did - and does.
There are institutions devoted to it, such as the Stiftung für Konkrete Kunst in Reutlingen (see opposite), the Museum im Kulturspeicher in Würzburg, and the Espace de l'Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux, near Cannes. The last of these, situated in a sloping wooded park which landscape architect Gilles Clément is slowly adjusting, occupies a triangular Renaissance château, a studio by Marc Barani, and a new building by one of today's best Swiss practices, Gigon Guyer.
Creating a series of almost-domestic spaces to display some fine works collected by the artist Gottfried Honegger, Gigon Guyer's contribution is the latest in its long line of distinguished arts schemes, and in the treatment of the exterior, the practice once more shows a bold way with colour (AJ 11.10.01). The building is explored in detail in a new monograph from publisher Axel Menges, Espace de l'Art Concret, Mouans-Sartoux (Euro 36).
One of van Doesburg's colleagues in De Stijl was the Belgian artist Georges Vantongerloo. His work appears in many museums but is seldom shown in depth, which is what an exhibition at Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering St, London W1, aims to do from 1 March-22 April. Furniture designs and sculptures as well as paintings will be on display (www. annelyjudafineart. co. uk).
Also new in London is an exhibition at the Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid: Phaeno Science Centre (www. aaschool. ac. uk), while the Architecture Foundation is holding a series of four evening seminars from 6-9 March, This Is Architecture, on 'how architecture is communicated to the public' (www. architecturefoundation. org. uk).