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First description, then reduction: this is just one many subtractive techniques.  In the Zeitschrift‘s second volume from 1902, Göttingen scientist L. Rhumbler describes how he has taken tubular, twisted Hypermmina and, with the help of a bit of mercury, flattened them into unadorned, awkward curves.  But if his words describe the materials and process of experiment, the picture conjures a sharp before-and-after.  Though his pictures are taken to represent an experiment that has sucked away dimensionality, his pictorial reduction evokes conjecture, mental manipulation, and the mind’s eye; his eye’s witness is nowhere to be found.  Flatness, linearity, and black and white together resist straightforward answers, and bely, instead, abstraction’s unctuous volatility.

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