Exercise to the 7th Lecture

Shape — Craft

5 Themes of Composition About Structure

»Our universe appears to be constructed according to the principle of hierarchy: small things are part of bigger things and those are part of yet bigger things. The molecules of aluminium silicate make up clay that can be shaped into bricks, and bricks — in certain combinations with other materials — make up houses, garden walls and workshops, that in turn make up a city. It is true that these things are manmade, but the same principle governs nature — the human body for example. Brick cannot be used for building modern skyscrapers, which demand steel construction, and if we use bamboo and paper as building materials we are faced with different limitations altogether. These limitations are the reason for many ›laws‹, but in reality these limitations are laws. This hierarchical order of the universe, however, facilitates an encoding system that can be used for the formulation of efficient general guidelines that allow us to detect complex data.«

Milan Butina, Elementi likovne prakse (Elements of Art Practice)

Theme I
Structure is the Repetition of a Unit

I create a pattern or an ornament that is based on a grid or, exceptionally, on some other form of repetition.

→ Patterns are nothing but mathematical isometric projections (on a plane). Isometric projections are usually understood as mirroring (there are several types of mirroring), a vortex, repetition or the like. Through the primary pattern, I grasp dimensions, module, scale, ratio and proportion.

I repeat the primary pattern in different compositions. The final product depends on how I begin. I work systematically and rationally, not »intuitively«.

Theme II
Structure → System
Standard Element → Group → Set

Standard elements function as representational elements. The number of elements in a set → the number of elements in all sets → the number of sets → the size of graphics. Each element is, in terms of quantity, equally distributed in all sets and each set is, in terms of quantity, equally represented through the graphics as a whole. → The size of an individual element equals one unit.

It is a matter of quantitative contrast known from colour theory. Usually the problem lies in the size of individual surfaces, something studied by Johannes Itten. But my work, like the work of Josef Albers, Owen Jones and above all Richard Paul Lohse, is about the quantity or number of repetitions.

Theme III
Structure → Sequence

I divide the format of 70×50 units into 7×5 squares with 10—unit sides, or a very similar format of 70 x 49 units into 10 x 7 squares with 7—unit sides. I continue to divide each square into smaller squares with 1—unit sides. The result is a grid of thick and fine lines which serves as a structure (framework) for my graphics. This means that elements, two versions of sets (groups) and the format are defined. Within each set I create a theme that is repeated in different variations in all other sets. When I move to a higher level, the previous sets turn into elements and the story repeats itself, so that the entire format represents a variation on the theme from the previous sets. Be aware: I do not describe the shape, I merely state the rules of the game!