With Double 30 (Azo-cobalt), dated 1975, Claude Tousignant created one of the classics from his repertoire: a circular diptych. Indeed, this emblematic work belongs to a series of tondos and shaped canvases that have earned Tousignant international acclaim. The Gongs, Transformateurs chromatiques, and Accélérateurs chromatiques series thus opened the way for dual elements, which made their appearance in 1970 and ended in 1980. That year, a solo exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal was entirely devoted to his diptychs.
A vibrant serial structure dominates the targets of concentric bands in saturated or fluorescent colours, inviting the viewer into an optical experience as refreshing now as it was when it was produced 50 years ago. By reducing the number of bands, and widening them, Tousignant sought first to intensify the presence of the chromatic fields. Due to the reversability of the optimally contrasting colours, and to their hierarchical position within the target, a firm kinship is created between the two elements, rendering them inseparable.
Double 30 (Azo-cobalt) comprises four concentric circles that appear to be covered by “a luminous scrim that is the product of optical vibration alone,” notes James D. Campbell. Regarding the sought effect, Tousignant wanted “the confrontation of these pairs of colours—which by their juxtaposition produced, so to speak, a third colour—, should establish a series of relationships with these third colours.” Campbell insists, in fact, on the space-colour relationship in Tousignant’s work as the expression of a “thick dimensionality and distended presence that can be genuinely eloquent and which can pull the viewer into a powerful gravitational orbit from which he or she only reluctantly escapes.”