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In two stages, during this year 1934, I had arrived at the full statement of what, in Painting and Its Laws in 1922 I had called 'the new plastic mechanism', which, at that time, was limited to translations and to a first indication of rotation. The incoherence I had remarked in my Abstraction-Création exhibition - this was the same incoherence which I had not noticed but which had, nonetheless, been there for twelve years, between my state of mind and the means by which I had tried to realise it, or, alternatively, between the technical means I had at my disposal and my state of mind, which had not been able to catch up with them.

I was now fully conscious of the fact. The two steps which had just followed each other, with some months interval between them, had been sufficient to resolve the contradictions and now my state of mind and my technical means had, once again, come together.

The translations and the first indication of rotation were situated in space; to them belonged, whether or not there was any figuration, the themes proposed by the colour harmonies, static in their nature, which, thanks to the conditions imposed by the overall environment of the painting, were at once of the nature of the object and of the nature of the subject, since the responsibility for the choices made must always be borne by the painter, however those choices may have been motivated or reasoned out.

Albert Gleizes: Analysis of mural painting
Three drawings in pencil and ink, 1938, each 21x32 cm
CR 1529-31

Gleizes: Le Ciel et la terre, 1938. Gouache, 27.5x31.5 cm.

Around this central theme, a network of concentric waves had developed, as if it had struck a medium which resonated with it, propagating it into the cadenced movement of time. All the elements which had gone into the making of the theme found themselves, in a manner of speaking, represented or put into counterpoint about it in a round, circular movement, going in one direction.

Finally, there was the formal resolution of all these complexities The single direction of all the different undulating currents had led them towards that ocean of light which is the pure rhythm for which they longed. Here the colours, whose passionate self assertion had been softened and disciplined by time, die, to rise again in light. The grey of the curve, in which the whole process of the opening out of the theme is enfolded like a seed that has reached the full extent of its capacity of development, gives to the whole an intensity that is an image of light.

The first step had caused me to recognise the authority of the rhythmic construction [dessin] which, up until then, had escaped me.

The second step obliged me to recognise the exact position of each of these clearly distinguished, autonomous natures which, put into action, resound each on the other, whether ascending or descending - that of the stopped measures; that of the cadences in movement and that, finally, of eternity, which the circumference, which is at once immobile and mobile, can indicate to the eye that is able to be aware of it in the unity of these two natures and in their duality.

To my mind, these clarifications, which enable the methodical realisation of an objective, traditional esemplastic means of expression - in opposition to the transcription onto a plane surface of a subjective phenomenon of vision such as is desired by the classical notion of painting - have brought about the logical resolution of the movement that was launched by Cubism. A long period of puzzlement, of empirical searching and of individualist fancies, which had to arrive at an order if it was to be resolved into a means of action that could be taught. However, I will never fail to insist that, beyond the quite excellent intentions that moved a certain number of painters who belonged to one particular generation, the first who conceived the basic elements of a conclusive method were, unquestionably, on the one hand, Jean Metzinger and Juan Gris, who arrived at a partial clarification of the conditions of translation and, on the other, Robert Delaunay, who played (and he was not without serious reasons of his own for doing it) with the colours in succession and simultaneous contrasts of the chromatic circle - once well appreciated by Gauguin and by Paul Sérusier, though, unlike Delaunay, they never dared to use it as a pure esemplastic phenomenon with a force of its own.

As for me, I pursued my own researches without paying very much attention to what they were doing.

At certain moments, I joined up with them again. I took advantage of the occasion to pay them the homage they deserved. And I continued to push ever further forward in the adventure, more and more convinced that the quest would not be in vain. Sometimes helped by intellectual reflection, sometimes by my practical experience as a painter. As I advanced ever more deeply into it, Cubism began to assume for me a meaning that was new and entirely unexpected. For, from being a particular way of painting, it appeared as the hidden hope of all painting, destined to restore to it its principles and laws.

Subjective classicism had thrown duration down, reducing it to the suspension of the moment, hence to spectacles or to things based on sensation, confined to space. By returning to painting the cadences of time, the process by which Cubism had finally found its fulfilment in tradition had raised duration up again, into Eternity, Unity, Light.

To speak more accurately, duration had given way to Omnipresence, since to speak of duration, even if we understand it as being perpetual, is to remain still in time. Eternity is omnipresent - which is very different. In it, the snapshot (space) and the instant (time) are coupled together in a mysterious act of conception ...