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330 Books-Livres It is necessary to stress this last point. Although Ehrenzweig’s jargon and mode of discussion seem scientific,his theory is not in fact ever presented in a testable form. This would not beimportant, if it was to be seen simply as a piece of aesthetic persuasion. Science used as rhetoric to urge on us changes in ourartistic value-judgments. It isclearthough that Ehrenzweig means it to do more than this. His theory of the creative mind at work is used to deduce teaching programmes for students that could have far reaching consequences for their artistic development . These programmes (described only at the level of anecdote) have themselves not been evaluated . Theeducation of artists issurelytoo important a matter for untested theorizing. Here Ehrenzweig’s faultylogicand obsolete conceptsbecome offarmore than academic interest. ‘Changingfocus’ ? One must conclude that visual metaphors do not give a particularly good account of creative processes . ‘Seeing’a winning move in bridge must not be taken too literally. For all that though, when he talks of two modes of vision, Ehrenzweig is following a well-wornpath. Thedistinction between ‘real-life’, ‘detailed’ vision and artistic ‘vision’vague but comprehensive, is by now traditional. Devices for changing from one to another are the stock-in-trade of conventional and unconventional art schoolteaching. (‘Look atthe spacesbetweenthe objects’! etc.) One has only to turn Rubin’s double profile on its side to destroy its physiognomic (‘Gestalt-bound’) quality. There is no doubt that such shifts can be made internally but do they really comport the dramatic psychoanalytic significance Ehrenzweig wishes them to have? REFERENCES 1. E. H. Gombrich, Art & Illusion (London: Phaidon 2. Ulric Neisser, ScientiJic American, June 1964. Press, 1960). Naissance de l’art cinhtique. Frank Popper, Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1967. 246pp., illus., 68F. Kinetic Art. Guy Brett, Studio Vista, London, 1968. 96 pp., illus., 12s. 6d. (paperback), 25s. (hardbound). Optical and Kinetic Art. Michael Compton, Tate Gallery, London, 1967. 48 pp., illus., 5s. Frank Popper’s ambitious study of the problem of movement in contemporary art and sculpture startsout, reasonablyenough,in 1860,whenPissarro was thirty, Degas twenty-six and CCzanne twentyone . Popper suggests that the publication (in 1862, not 1860 as he states in his Introduction or 1863 as he states in his Bibliography) of Herbert Spencer’s First Principles was an epoch-making event. A better candidate than Spencer’s soon discredited ‘new evolutionism’ would have been the ‘kinetic theory of matter’ propounded by his contemporary Lord Kelvin. But the author is right to point out the primary importance of the photographic researches into movement pioneered during the eighties by Edward Muybridge with his ‘chronophotographs’ and by J. E. Marey with his extraordinary ‘chronograms’, as well as the invention by Edison in 1892 of the ‘kinetoscope’. The author describes adequately the development of dynamic expression in modern art from the postimpressionists , through cubism and futurism to geometrical abstraction and surrealism. The main body of the work, dealing with kinetic art and with ‘virtual’movement, presents difficulties, though, because the author states in his Introduction that ‘le mot “cinttique”, dans notre ouvrage, est employ6 dans le sens: qui a le mouvement comme principe’, whereas he really means ‘qui a le mouvement ou l’illusion de mouvement comme principe’. The confusion is compounded in the chapter ‘Les origines de l’art cinktique et le mouvement virtuel’ in which the author justifies his etymology of the term ‘art cinttique’ by declaring: ‘Nous l’utiliserons pour dtcrire toutes les Oeuvres bi- ou tridimensionelles en mouvement rkl.. .; nous l’utiliserons tgalement pour la description d’ceuvres en mouvement virtuel, c’est-&-dire oh l’ceil du spectateur est guidC d’une maniere Cvidente. Ainsi le terme d’art cinttique comprendra certaines ceuvres oh les phtnomknes optiques du mouvement jouent un r61e prtdominant.. ., ti plus forte raison des ceuvres qui comportent une participation active du spectateur ...’, This seems to me to stretch the meaning of the term ‘kinetic art’ much too far. Marcel Zerbib, for instance, avoids this error in his introduction to the work of Bury, Soto and Takis (Galerie Diderot, Paris, 1963) when he observes, apropos of Bury’s sculptures (true kinetic art) and Soto’s reliefs (true optical art): ‘Bury...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 330-331
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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