Full text: The little review (9 (1923), 4)

58 
more closely together, should have more contacts, so that each in his own domain 
may benefit thereby. It is up to you who are listening to me to find the way. 
The plastic life is terribly dangerous, its ambiguity is perpetual. No standard 
is possible, no arbitration tribunal is in existence. I say again, it is for you to 
find the way. 
Two pictures, not completely identical, were shown to the impressionist painter, 
Sisley, and he could not tell which was the false one. 
We must live and create in a perpetual agitation, in this continual ambiguity. 
The one who handles beautiful things is sometimes quite unaware of them; in 
this connection I shall always recall the year when I installed the Autumn Salon 
and was fortunate enough to be next to the Aviation Show which was about to 
open. Through the partitions I could hear the hammers and the songs of the 
mechanics. Although accustomed to these shows, I had never before been so 
much impressed. Never had so brutal a contrast confronted me. I passed from 
enormous dull gray surfaces, pretentious in their frames, to beautiful metallic 
objects, hard, useful, with pure colours, to steel with its infinite variety, with its 
play of vermillions and blues. The geometric power of forms dominated all. 
The mechanics saw me pass, they knew that they had artists for neighbours and 
in their turn they asked permission to see our show; and these good fellows who 
had never seen an exhibition of pictures in their lives, who were uncorrupted, 
who had been reared close to the first beautiful material fell into ecstasies before 
works which I shall not trouble to mention. 
I shall always see a sixteen year old urchin, with fire red hair, a new jacket 
of bright blue, orange trousers and his hand stained with Prussian blue, gazing 
enraptured on the nude women in their gilt frames, not having the slightest sus 
picion that with his modern workman’s clothes, blazing with colours, he literally 
killed the Salon, there remained upon the walls only vaporous shadows in old 
fashioned frames. This dazzling boy who had the look of having been brought 
forth by an agricultural machine was the symbol of the exposition next door, of 
the life of tomorrow, when prejudice shall be destroyed, when finally all the 
world shall see clearly and the Beauty of the true artisan and of the true artist 
shall be released. 
FERNAND LEGER 
May t 1923
	        

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