Kurt Schwitters: Gesetze der Bildform

May 15, 2010

Visiting the exhibition Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde at the Tate Modern, I was struck to see something like a website wireframe in a small book from 1930, ‘Gesetze der Bildform’, by the modernist artist Kurt Schwitters.

Kurt Schwitters: Gesetze der Bildform

Kurt Schwitters: Gesetze der Bildform, 1930

On these two pages he compares / contrasts orientation with advertising.

Orientation / Advertising … (Orientierung / Werbung)

  1. Static / Dynamic … (Ruhend / Bewegt )
  2. No center, balanced, hence stable / Distinct center, hence radiating … (Ohne Mitte, daher ausgeglichen / Betonte Mitte, daher austrahlend)
  3. Passiv / Aktive … (Passiv / aktiv)
  4. Objektiv / Subjective … (Objektiv / Subjectiv)
  5. Vertical, horizontal, rectangular forms / Parallel, any shape … (Senkrecht, waagerecht, Vierecke / Parallel oder schraeg, jede beliebige Form)
  6. Parts of the same type; the negative of each part is essentially the same as its positive / Parts of different types. Negative and positive are essentially different, like conkave and convex … (Teile gleichartig; das Negativ jedes Teiles ist im Wesen gleich seinem positiv / Teile verschiedenartig; Negativ und Positiv sind wesentlich verschieden, wie konkav und konvex)
  7. hence – providing orientation / hence – advertising, aggressive … (also – orientierend / also – werbend, aggressiv)
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