Roy Lichtenstein, a key figure of American Pop Art, became infamous for his pioneering effort to breathe new life into long-established art historical genres. His oeuvre was executed manually, but frequently mimicked the appearance of industrially made images. His Perfect/Imperfect series, created between 1978 and 1995, is a sensational example of the varied visual strategies Lichtenstein implemented throughout his career.
Rather than deriving inspiration from cartoon strips and advertisements, the subject matter of the two series is entirely self-generated. Lichtenstein explores an original design in the related sequences, manifesting stunning representations of pure abstraction. However, whereas the Perfect prints conform to the framework, the explosive Imperfect compositions puncture the edges of the canvas.
Completed in 1988, Imperfect Diptych 57, is based on the historical tradition of altarpieces, in the same vein as Imperfect Diptych 46. Lichtenstein depicts the illusion of a paired print on a single panel, applying a pastel colour scheme to both sides of the pictorial plane. As opposed to Imperfect Diptych 46, Imperfect Diptych 57 showcases a continuous but divided image. If it were a real diptych with hinges, the tonally and dimensionally more vivid right image would fit perfectly inside the hollow and flat left side.