us? Their puerile mania for authoritarianism expects art itself to serve the 
stultification of mankind. 
The Renaissance taught men the haughty exaltation of their reason. Modern 
times, with their science and technology turned men towards megalomania. 
The confusion of our epoch results from this overestimation of reason. We 
wanted an anonymous and collective art. Here is what I wrote on the occasion 
of an exhibition we put on in Zurich in 1915: “These works are constructed 
with lines, surfaces, forms and colors. They strive to surpass the human and 
achieve the infinite and the eternal. They are a negation of man’s egotism. 
. . . The hands of our brothers, instead of serving us as our own hands, had 
become enemy hands. Instead of anonymity there was celebrity and the 
masterpiece; wisdom was dead. . . . To reproduce is to imitate, to play a 
comedy, to walk the tight-rope. ...” 
In 1915 Sophie Taeuber and I made in painting, embroidery and collage 
the first works derived from the simplest forms. These are probably the very 
first manifestations of this art. These pictures are Realities in themselves, 
without meaning or cerebral intention. We rejected everything that was copy 
or description, and allowed the Elementary and Spontaneous to react in full 
freedom. Since the disposition of planes, and the proportions and colors of 
these planes seemed to depend purely on chance, I declared that these works, 
like nature, were ordered “according to the law of chance,” chance being for 
me merely a limited part of an unfathomable raison d’être, of an order inacces 
sible in its totality. Various Russian and Dutch artists who at that time were 
producing works rather close to ours in appearance, were pursuing quite 
different intentions. They are in fact a homage to modern life, a profession 
of faith in the machine and technology. Though treated in an abstract man 
ner, they retain a base of naturalism and of “trompe l’œil.” 
From 1916 to 1920 Sophie Taeuber danced in Zurich. I shall quote the 
beautiful lines that Hugo Ball wrote about her in an essay entitled “Occultism 
and other things rare and beautiful”: “All around her is the radiance of the 
sun and the miracle that replaces tradition. She is full of invention, caprice, 
fantasy. She danced to the ‘Song of the Flying Fishes and the Hippocamps,’ 
an onomatopoetic plaint. It was a dance full of flashes and fishbones, of daz 
zling lights, a dance of penetrating intensity. The lines of her body break, 
every gesture decomposes into a hundred precise, angular, incisive move 
ments. The buffoonery of perspective, lighting and atmosphere is for her 
hypersensitive nervous system the pretext for drollery full of irony and wit. 
The figures of her dance are at once mysterious, grotesque and ecstatic. . . . ” 
I met Eggeling in Paris in 1915 at the studio of Madame Wassilieff, who in

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