Issue 39, Fall 1966
...The unconditioned eye does not exist. The general public sees the world today with eyes that were developed by the Impressionists ;this education of perception spread by means of newspapers, publicity, and so forth. A painter exerts an action upon perception, engineers vision, but what was I going to say? Oh, yes... vision, a psychological phenomenon, subjective.. .and emotional.... In a room where a committed color determines the prevailing tone, the beloved will change color in relation to her surroundings. If you look at a face and fix your attention on the nose, the nose will not only change its size, but also its color in relation to the rest of the face. These were the observations that I wanted to translate in the works ;I called “a géométrie variable” (variable geometry). For example, in the big painting entitled “Paysage à géométrie variable et à Martial Raysse kilomèters-heure” exhibited at Venice, each element was treated; as a world in itself, with its own particular color scheme and scale, independent of the others, in order to express the attention that was directed to a specific part of the landscape at a given moment. All ;of those elements, taken together, constituted a picture which was a seismographic record of the psychological variations of the painting act considered as a life act. The special shape chosen permitted me ;to define a basic space that would convey my ideas most conveniently. This choice is based on the following considerations: coming from the field of “I’art d’assemblage” where the objects I utilized were common property, I had for a long time felt the need of creating prefabricated objects of my own, my prototypes; and to replace the stereotypes of society with my own personal ones. It was in this sense that I defined a certain shape of mouth and eye, or certain elements like palm trees, chickens, boats, etc., which I could use in a given context to express certain personal psychological definitions.I wish to emphasize that my works do not employ variable elements,but variable geometry. The elements are not parts of a game that can be shifted within the framework of the specific picture surface. Not at all, for if this were true it would merely represent another form of action painting. For me it is the very geometry of the work itself; that is variable; that is to say, it is the space determined by its boundaries and the psychological comparisons that result from the proximity or the separation of the elements. I consider this much like our own existence where all the elements are profoundly dissimilar, but are brought into coexistence by an act of will that coincides with the very notion of life itself.