instead of serving us as our own hands, have 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 tightrope. ...” 
the renaissance puffed up human reason with pride, modern times with 
their science and technology have made man a megalomaniac, the atrocious 
confusion of our epoch is the consequence of this overestimation of reason. 
the evolution of traditional painting towards concrete art, beginning with 
cezanne and via the cubists has often been explained, and these historical 
explanations have confused the problem, abruptly, “according to the laws of 
chance,” the human mind underwent a transformation about the year 1914: 
an ethical problem presented itself, most of these works were not exhibited 
until about 1920. there was a blossoming of all the colors and all the forms in 
the world, these paintings, these sculptures, these objects, were liberated from 
conventional element, in every country adepts of this new art arose. — concrete 
art influenced architecture, furniture, cinema, typography. 
certain “surrealist objects” are also concrete works, without any descriptive 
content, they seem to me exceedingly important for the evolution of concrete 
art, for, by allusion, they succeed in introducing into this art the psychic 
emotion that makes it live. 
concrete art aims to transform the world, it aims to make existence more 
bearable, it aims to save man from the most dangerous folly: vanity, it aims 
to simplify man’s life, it aims to identify him with nature, reason uproots man 
and causes him to lead a tragic existence, concrete art is an elemental, natural, 
healthy art, which causes the stars of peace, love and poetry to grow in the 
head and the heart, where concrete art enters, melancholy departs, dragging 
with it its gray suitcases full of black sighs, [illustrations 18, 27, 28a, b, c] 
Concrete art 
In 1909 the Russian painter Rossine came to see me in Switzerland and 
showed me drawings in which he had represented his inner world with col 
ored dots and curves in a way that had never been seen before. These were no 
abstractions of landscapes, people, objects, as in cubist pictures. I showed 
him canvases covered with a black web, a network of strange writing, runes, 
lines, spots, produced in months of painful work. My colleagues had shaken 
their heads and evaluated my work as unsuccessful sketches. Rossine, how 
ever, was impressed. His work and mine, I think, were concrete art. The 
earliest of my concrete pictures now extant were done in 1915. Two of these

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