Paule Vézelay was a British-born artist who lived and worked in Paris from 1926 until 1939. There she changed her name from Marjorie Watson-Williams in order to obscure both her nationality and gender. Lines in Space was a series that spanned
over 3 decades: In 1964 Paule Vézelay recalled the genesis of such constructions:
When lines are drawn by a skilled and sensitive artist they are sometimes imbued with an almost celestial quality which miraculously endows them with «Life». … I knew that any untrained hand guided by borrowed knowledge could, with a minimum of practice, make lines upon a two-dimensional surface in such a way that they create an illusion of three-dimensional space, but was there any reason why artists should continue to confine Living Lines to a two-dimensional surface while ordinary lines outside the Realm of Art enjoyed freedom in Space? (‘Comments on Lines in Space’, unpublished essay sent to Tate Gallery, Jan. 1964).
The articulation and definition of space was a common concern among many of the artists of Abstraction-Création, the international avant-garde group to which Vézelay belonged. While such artists as César Domela, Jean Gorin and Ben Nicholson extended painting’s illusionistic space into the third dimension of the relief, others such as Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo and Katarzyna Kobro made sculptures in which actual space was an integral element. For them, an abstract art characterised by space and purity was an essential part of the new society for which they hoped and worked. Vézelay was not the only one among them who related the abstract qualities of her work to a spiritual level of reality. This was an art for a new
society and a new consciousness.