Pol Bury

Belgian 1922 - 2005


The Belgian-born sculptor Pol Bury began his career as a surrealist painter which he soon abandoned to devote himself to the art of motion, becoming one of the leading kinetic sculptors (“cinetisme”) of the twentieth century. He is known for using cylinders, spheres, dishes and triangles, all in stainless steel. Bury devoted himself to drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as writing, jewelry making and fountain-making such as the 1980 Guggenheim fountain and two fountains in the Paris Palais Royale garden in 1985 when he received Paris’s Grand Prix National de Sculpture (National Grand Prize for Sculpture).

In 1938 became a member of the surrealist group « Rupture, » founded by the Walloon poet Achille Chavée in 1934. He then met Magritte and participated in the International Exposition of Surrealism in 1945. In 1947 his painting took a new direction towards abstraction and he gravitated to the artists Christian Dotremont and Pierre Alechinsky, the founders of the group CoBra from 1948 to 1951. As well, Bury was one of the founders of the group Art Abstrait and a member the German artist group Zero (1957–1966) founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, an international network of like-minded artists from Europe, Japan, and North and South America—including Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama, Piero Manzoni, Almir Mavignier, Jan Schoonhoven, and Jesús Rafael Soto.

In 1953, Bury discovered Calder’s work and created his rst mobiles. Bury’s rst solo exposition took place in 1961 in Paris, the same year he moved there. In 1964 Pol Bury represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale and in 1971 had a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Pol Bury taught at the University of California at Berkeley and at the College of Art and Design of Minneapolis. His work is regularly exhibited at the Maeght Gallery and is currently part of the exhibition ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60 , the rst large-scale historical survey in the US dedicated to the German artist group ZERO through January7, 2015 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.