2018
Typesettings — Typography

Cavalier — 108 Cubes in the Cavalier projection

First I make a font. This is a set of characters with predetermined spacings. Each shape is assigned to a key on the keyboard. Fonts are monospaced — all characters are of equal width. What follows is typesetting; as if you were setting a mathematical formula, »letters« with the exponents and indices. The text is the same for all images.

Geometry – The Rationality of a View

I contemplate about the world and harbour ideas of it. I observe the world. When I perceive visually, I seek for the interconnections among things.  Everything I see, I arrange; I speak to be able to see. The vision is, therefore, a creative activity, which is, necessarily, the result of arranging. I observe and see space and things within it. I see a system of relationships and relations among the things. Yet, I evaluate – measure the relationships and relations. I perceive relationships among the things, or “put” things into relations. Whenever possible, I count. I compare things and measure them. I expect order, thus, I also seek for it. From my own personal experience of being trapped inside my body, I expect, or search for a symmetry. What is left must be right as well. If it is not so simple, it should at least be symmetrical. Using symmetry helps me arrange a space in my mind. Therefore, I contemplate about the space, I look at it, and, finally, I also get to see it. The result of the contemplation itself is the ideal space, which is only a “concept” – I do not imagine it, nor do I watch, or see it. I look at the real space in all its matter; however, I do not understand it yet. At last, I see the perceptible space, which is some sort of cross-section and a consequence of the first two at the same time. I have symmetry, as a representative of geometry, and counting, therefore, repeating of something as a representative of arithmetic. Counting and repeating, thus, help steer towards the rhythm.  The pair symmetry and rhythm describe the time and space. What, namely, the symmetry is for the space, the rhythm is for the time. In the art world, I deal mainly with the space, but less with the time; however, that is quite the opposite in the world of music – time comes first and space comes second. When creating, I intentionally (and also unintentionally) help myself with grids. With them, I can arrange the space easier and better, as well as count throughout the grid. Due to the nature of the medium, the grids are generally orthogonal in the field of Architecture and Graphic Design, although they tend to be of a more complex structure in the field of Painting and Sculpting (however, this does not mean they are less correct). I am talking about the diagonal grids, through which I can achieve a dynamic symmetry (here, I would once again like to point out that the symmetry is a dynamic concept, not only that rigid mirror principle). By using geometry*, I point out very clearly the arithmetic* ratios*: Square = 1:1 or “prime”, double square = 1:2 or “octave”, and golden cut = 5:8, or a “minor sixth”. 

Geometry in the art world is obviously not a style direction. It is also obviously not tied to a certain time period, nor is it tied to an abstract creation (whatever the concept “abstract” actually means). In the introduction into his legendary book, Horst Woldemar Janson clarifies that there were only three expressive styles present throughout the entire history: Impressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. 

All the other styles are merely a combination of the mentioned three. And, more or less, we come across geometry in all three; if not obvious, geometry is at least hidden somewhere in the back, beneath all the layers of thoughts, colours, and materials. At first, geometry was used in the art creation as the internal structure, frame, skeleton, etc., which was then overlapped with figures or a landscape. For example, I can find a triangle underneath the Gothic icon of Madonna with Child, which is situated meaningfully into a format, and is repeated over the composition in a similar way*. This triangle is sometimes quite special, rectangular, Pythagorean, with an aspect ratio of 3:4:5. Perspective, which was purportedly discovered in the Renaissance period, is a geometric approximation of the image of the three-dimensional perceptual space on a two-dimensional image surface, or a geometric construction of the illusion of this space. With the end of the Renaissance period and with the use of optical instruments, they, of course, invented “photography”.  The lens, the objective, or the prism, was set up in front of the easel within a reasonable distance. The light “painted” the image of the real space onto the painting surface. From here on persistence was needed, especially in order for the painter to comprise and paint the image onto the canvas. An excellent representative of this approach was Johannes Vermeer. He was examined closely by David Hockney in his magnificent and legendary book entitled “The Secret Knowledge”. In the Gothic period, geometry was a means of contact with the ideal, perfect, eternal, etc. It represented the essential. And from the Little Prince we know that the essential is invisible to the eye. Slowly, geometry started becoming the “figure”. It started to become less the mediator of the all-embracing and it mutated increasingly into a tool intended for the reflection of everything seen. It looks as if the entire history between the Gothic and Modern revolved around the problem of how to paint as realistic an image as possible, or how to pack and hide the expression and the story underneath its surface. In the Modern period, they finally noted once again that the winner is not the one who repeats the seen best, but the one who makes the visible, who uncovers, who extracts, etc. They worked in two directions – object-directed and abstract. Georges Braque stated proudly that it was the Cubists who finally abolished the perspective 500 years after its discovery. The object was presented from the front, from the back, from left and right, as well as from the bottom and through the guts. All this in a single painting, so, in order to do that, they used geometry. The shapes were simplified for this purpose, while the objects and the empty spaces were presented with the cross-sectional surfaces. In short, the objects were sorted geometrically in a certain way. Therefore, I propose you not to look at the Parisian Cubists, but rather to take a good look in Russia, where they might have done this even better; the best example might even be seen in the later “square drawer” Kazimir Severinovič Malevič. This was most definitely an object direction. The non-figurative, unimaginable, or always with a misinterpreted foreign term, the abstract direction took geometry as its frame and structure and, at the same time, as the final result.  

The lack of necessity for the art, or, more precisely, the painting to present something can be felt already from the sentence, which was said by Giotto di Bondone himself back in the Gothic era: “Painting is basically arranging a colour beside another colour.” Reasonably, painting can also be arranging of squares. Or it could also be only one square on a square canvas. A black square that covers almost the entire surface of the canvas, surrounded by a narrow white margin. Namely, according to the words of Herbert Read, this was supposed to be the fundamental work of the modern painting. From this extreme reduction on, only a blank canvas was possible to be exhibited. That is why the compositions started gradually to, once again, become more “complex” – from minimalism to maximalism, and back again. An endless game. The already mentioned square was painted by Kazimir Severinovič Malevič, and afterwards, by all his students, quite possibly, several times. Alongside his supporters Lazar Markovič »El« Lissitzky, Aleksander Mihajlovič Rodčenko, etc. they started to call themselves the “supremacists”. In the North of Europe, similar things were happening in the Netherlands or the Flemish Region – Pieter Cornelis »Piet« Mondriaan, Theo van Doesburg, etc. with their movement called “De Stijl”, or with “Neoplasticism”.  The Germans were also involved geographically, namely, with their Arts and Craft School “Bauhaus”. Unfortunately, the school was known mainly by its teachers, such as Valter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Paul Klee, Vasilij Vasiljevič Kandinski, Josef Albers, Oskar Schlemmer, etc., and less by its students. However, the school had a remarkable influence in our parts as well. Namely, Avgust Černigoj attended school there, while Ivo Špinčič was not that far away. As an echo, a repetition, and the continuation, I find most geometrists in the abstract expressionism, but, above all, in the op art (“op” stands for “optical”) in the post-war period – Bridget Louise Riley, Victor Vasarely, etc. – when the painters literally abandoned everything, when there was no story in the paintings, and the shapes did not present anything specific, or they presented the most specified: Shapes, colours, lines, etc., they presented themselves. The painters tried to paint a completely unimaginable (abstract) painting, meaning a painting with no illusions of the objects, therefore, there was not supposed to be the illusion of a three-dimensional space. In our country, such an echo presented mainly the so-called neo-constructivists and their companions: Danilo Jejčič, Dragica Čadež, Drago Hrvacki, Dušan Tršar, Josip Gorišek, Tone Lapajne, etc., and just across the current border, Ivan Picelj, Miroslav Šutej, Vjenceslav Richter, etc., who exhibited across Slovenia together with the groups of our painters. *** Geometry is omnipresent everywhere. In ancient times they saw it in nature, when they were searching for what was common in seemingly different things. The real question now is only if we are ready or capable of seeing it, or are we blinded by that special thing in nature, which is unified and cosmic, special and chaotic at the same time, for us not being able to see those common things? People that are called mathematicians deal with the unveiling of the universal. They develop tools, which are used primarily by natural sciences, and all others, who are interested by the “quantity”. Measuring and counting is, namely, an evaluation. 

And this is quantifying of perception. Therefore, by measuring and counting, I sort of “transfer” the perceptive space into an ideal one. Geometry seems to be at least one way of searching for the omnipresent. Geometry can be found even beneath the most realistic and figural images. Similar to mathematicians, a geometric skeleton presents the final interest and result to the fine artists – geometrists. The realist, figuralist then dresses it into recognisable images, iconography. I would like to conclude by pointing out that the place of the fine artists – geometrists in the art world, could be similar to that of the mathematicians in the natural sciences.

Notes

The retrospective exhibition of the 55 protagonists of the constructed art from the entire world, as an accompanying exhibition of the 21st International Graphic Biennale in Ljubljana, was excellent.

* Marks the mathematical concepts.