52 
mysterious corporeality. We should like him pray every day for dreams. The 
dream, which is Hugo Ball’s art, is a magic treasure; it connects man with the 
life of light and darkness, with real life, the real collectivity. 
See reproduction 
The black grows deeper and deeper, darker and darker before me. It men 
aces me like a black gullet. I can bear it no longer. It is monstrous. It is un 
fathomable. 
As the thought comes to me to exorcise and transform this black with a 
white drawing, it has already become a surface. Now I have lost all fear, and 
begin to draw on the black surface. I draw and dance at once, twisting and 
winding, a winding, twining, soft white flowery round. A round of snakes in 
a wreath . . . white shoots dart this way and that. Three of them begin to 
form snakes’ heads. Cautiously the two lower ones approach one another. See 
reproduction, [illustration 11] 
The magician 
The sale of my first relief in Paris in 1926 was black magic. The magician 
was Viot, the art dealer. He had ensnared D., the collector, with promising 
speeches about indescribable beauty, and lured him to my studio. Looking 
very unhappy, D. weighed my little relief, first in his left, then in his right 
hand. He seemed to find no objection to the weight. Around his beautiful mi 
ser’s neck he wore a still more beautiful necktie. 1 He twisted and fidgeted. He 
struggled to make up his mind. He opened his eyes wide and then wearily 
closed them. He opened them again and looked madly for some chance to es 
cape. Now was the time to be on our guard. He really seemed about to seek 
safety in flight. With ruffled crest, Viot swaggered round his victim. He 
bragged and boasted of his incomparable knowledge of the arts. D. groaned: 
“Five hundred francs is a lot of money for a little piece of wood!” Viot did 
not lessen his efforts. Now it was the dark and mysterious that filled his sails. 
His eyes gleamed like two magic lanterns. His eloquence became more and 
more daemonic until at length D. collapsed in a chair and handed Viot the five 
hundred francs. 
1. Geizhals, literally “avarice neck,” is German for skinflint.
	        

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