Dialogues with the Collection

Dialogues with the Collection

Jorge Oteiza, Caja metafísica por conjunción de dos triedros, 1959

As part of the Dialogues with the Collection programme of small exhibitions that set up a dialogue between works from the MACBA Collection and other artworks, Félix de Azúa presented a reflection on the line in science and art.

“In geometry, a line is an idea, and ideas are identical to themselves, eternal and immutable. Geometry considers all lines as one single and always the same eternal, continuous line that is doubly infinite. This line eternally passes between two points that will remain the same eternally and never change. But in the arts, each line that exists is different to any other line. In the arts, a line is not an idea but an event. Each line has a will of its own and unfolds freely. A line never crosses the two points, it constantly revitalises them. It does not pass between points, it passes through experiences.

In geometry, the line exists outside of time. In the arts, however, the line adapts to the time of observation. It lives and progresses in a time other than its own. Some lines in the arts show the fragility of the time of the observer, others emphasise its solidity, others scatter like lost time. In the arts, even the different parts of a single line are not the same or interchangeable. As it unfolds, the line of the arts passes through dramatic, sometimes humorous moments, which are always impossible to compare among themselves because they have memory. Unlike line in geometry, line in the arts does not define a plane. Instead, it submits to judgement; and the verdict is that in painting lines are never innocent. Only in the arts are false lines possible.

In geometry, lines are infinite in both directions. In the arts ephemeral lines unfold in a single direction. It is our direction; a single direction that leads nowhere. Properly considered, the line that exists in the arts is our place. A place that shifts without a purpose, but ends at each instant of its path.”

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12 April 1997 – 31 August 1997
Dialogues with the Collection