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I gave much more attention to rotation than to translation because translation does much less than rotation to change our usual habits of mind.  These days, of course, we are passionately interested in speed.  It is one of the manifestations of that passion for quantity which is so characteristic of our age.  But speed, under all its aspects, has done nothing for us other than simply to feed our sense of our own importance.  It certainly has done nothing to help us to acquire any exact notions of what it itself signifies in relation to movement.  We continue to refer it to static, Humanist postulates, and we remain fooled by appearances, whether these appearances take the form of image, or whether scientists have taken the trouble to reduce them to schemas or to symbols.  I have tried to point out where the error lies, first by separating what constitutes 'measures'  from what constitutes 'periods', then, afterwards, by distinguishing movement-in-itself - which is the postulate, the universal, ineffable support - from relative movement, practical movement, whose origin is man, situated in his body.  

'Speed', or energy, is the name we have given to the more or less intensive exploitation of this practical movement.  It follows, headlong, a succession of intervals, which appear as periods, cadences, waves, vibrations ... whose form, and whose vividness, depend uniquely on us, when we act, or when we try to understand.  We seem hardly to be conscious of any of this, despite all our boasted rationalism, which is, clearly, not the same thing as reason.  But it is still only by knowing ourselves that we can become aware of what we are doing and that we can, by making comparisons, understand, to a large extent, beings and things that are similar, or analogous, to us - as well as, to a very limited extent, beings and things that are very different.

If we do not take ourselves into account, but try, all the same, to interpret the signs and traces which are scattered and which run through what surrounds us, then we are merely chasing after our own shadow without recognising it for what it is.  We feed ourselves intellectually with the hollow meat of abstraction, and we turn away from the bread and the source of life.  It is with the intention of recovering the man who paints - drawn as he is towards a naturalistic and psychological abstraction, and, thus, lost in the empty desert - that I have spoken at such length on the nature of the painter's eye, in movement and rotation, life, and source of action.  

There is, at present, a superstition which has, for a whole variety of reasons, been carefully cultivated, and which seeks to fool the young artist with the advantages to be had from ignorance and the refusal of all serious thought.  But I note that, among the younger generations, there is a very definite tendency to rebel.  Their elders, then.  should try to help them, bringing them the fruits of their experience as painters, as craftsmen, and, simply, as men.  Doubtless, the language they use will seem surprising at first sight.  Its content will seem difficult to understand, a sustained effort will be necessary.  But that should not discourage them.  Nothing solid or true can be acquired in a day, without perseverance or without many sacrifices.  But, with good will and a disinterested spirit, the obstacles will come to an end, all the more so because most of them are of our own making.  Respect for ourselves, and respect for our own work - these are the first conditions that have to be fulfilled if our existence is to have any meaning.  

A painter is a man like any other man, and painting, equally, a craft like any other.  The worth of the painter is equal to the worth of the man.  Those young painters who distrust the excesses of the present day must face this problem of Man courageously.  It has become, in our age which questions everything, beginning with reality, desperately urgent.  The first thing to be done is to learn to know oneself as man, to take account of oneself in the physical body, to become aware of the properties and range of the senses, to know the limits and characteristics of the one and of the other, to be able to distinguish between what they convey of the external world in the form of sensations, and what they are able to realise when put in action under the direction of the will.  Finally, the painter - a man defined by an activity that he has chosen, consciously and deliberately - will be able to create himself objectively.  He will be able to embody his personal feelings in a material which is itself without the capacity for action, but which is always available for service, and always pure, determined by the conditions that are proper to the particular sense in question, the eye, and by the co-ordination of our gestures.  

It is for this reason that I have insisted on the properties of sight - living properties, which cannot be grasped by any sort of merely physiological analysis.  And also on the need to master one's hand, to make of the hand a faithful servant for the eye, which directs it, and which is, itself, commanded by the will, mistress of the house, instrument and, at one and the same time, manifestation of the spirit.  Has my insistence on all that taken us away, even for one moment, from our object, which is painting?  I don't think so, even though I have not felt the slightest need to justify myself by talking about sensibility, personality, genius - persuaded, as I am, that no worthwhile work can be built on banalities or on pretentious hypotheses, but only on experience at its most real, and on the most carefully reasoned reflection, which extends it and which makes it fully human.  Painting is painting.  It is the object that exists through its own underlying reality and through its form.  Through the object, the subject can rise to the level of his own objective reality, his reality as a being who has a real, objective, existence.  That is why the painter and the painting are, simultaneously, cause and effect, mysterious ontological harmony, in flesh, in love, in the present.  

The chaos which prevails in this world of the Réalités Nouvelles is an inevitable consequence of the fact that many of the artists who are refusing to use the external appearances of things are, nonetheless, lacking in this awareness of themselves and of their own presence in the painting.  So, if we are to bring some order into the situation, we must try to 'open the way'.  This is quite indispensable for a painter.  When we have renounced the subject, we must not imagine that we have gained something, merely because we have taken certain liberties with formalism, because we have trampled on it, without putting anything in its place.  And the only thing with which it can be replaced is the real object.  We must know how to enter into the beginnings of this object and to be 'born' with each of its successive developments.  I have tried to show it first in Man, then in the painter, then in the painter's eyes, then in the painter's hand, and, finally, realised through these diverse yet intimately united elements working together, in the inert primal matter of the canvas or of the wall, which wakens, comes alive, is transfigured, step by step, thanks to their activity.  Translation endows it with a series of relations between different magnitudes, which are like the organs of a total, harmonious organism.  The rotation brings in the circulation of life, of melody, of movement, and opens the way to light, to the perfect rhythm that, in its unity, transcends all the dualities that have turned towards it.  

The objective painting culminates in rhythm.  That is all that remains for me to say. 

Albert Gleizes: Rhythm - 'analysis of traditional mural painting', 1938

Rhythm is the final coming together of these two separated states that are translation and rotation.  Rhythm is the form of these two apparently contradictory phenomena - fixed figures, and successive periods.  Translation - with the feeling of place that it suggests, and of spatial extension, which is the same thing, whatever anyone may say to the contrary - presupposes a transcendental support that is absolutely localised, situated, and, therefore, immovable.  Rotation, with the feeling of mobility that it suggests, and of temporal periodicity, presupposes a transcendental support which is perfectly active, tirelessly in movement.  In its formal unity, rhythm may be said to resolve what is irreconcilable in these two absolutes of opposite character, the immobile and the mobile (16).  It is the rhythm which dominates all objective painting as its unity - a unity which goes far beyond the means which are, necessarily, dissociated, precisely because of the two natures of Man, manifested in the operations of sight.  It is the same for all the works of Man.  We may call these contradictory elements 'details' and say that the details finally pass away so that the whole may be built.  The whole is the rhythm, the form, unity of what is merely instantaneous and of the instant as a period of time.

(16) Rhythm - unity of space and time, of the immobile and the mobile. A simple car engine can give us the idea of it. The body of the engine isn’t the motor, the source of movement. The body of the motor is, itself, immobile and distinct from the motor which is only a motor when it is in movement. Distinct and yet, nonetheless, one, the body of the engine and the motor provide a good enough relative image of the immobile and mobile, space and time, joined together in rhythm, which is their unity.  

Let us take an example, not far removed from painting, the analogous case of a piece of music in which, also, there is no subject.  A Bach fugue will suffice, without going any further back in history.  I am only a listener, who knows nothing about the technique.  I let myself be enchanted by the interlacing sounds made by the ear and for the ear; they are there, they were there, and they will be there, right to the last moment.  What will be left to me when the last note has gone away?  Nothing that can be experienced; no past or future.  So?  But I don't even have to pose the question, I am so transfigured, so taken up with my whole being in a presence that is more real than the ebb and flow of the sounds I have just been listening to.  Sensations, sentiments, perceptions, tensions [épreuves], harmony in chords, melody in a rising and falling of waves, counterpoint - their place is taken by silence.  But what a silence! The full, substantial silence of rhythm, which is not troubled by accident, but which has a form, a form which touches my form and which, beyond the senses, beyond the heart, joins with the spirit.  

Baudelaire assigned to melody what properly belongs to rhythm.  That can easily be seen nowadays.  But his feeling was still quite accurate.  Melody and cadence possess all the properties he assigned to them except that unity which is the rhythmic conclusion, the very form of the work.  For, I will stress this characteristic of rhythm - its substance is immovable, but its form can be varied.  This form has one perfect model.  But for us it can have an infinite variety of inflections.  This is what gives each of the works their individual personality.  

To show what I mean I will take the circumference of a rubber band as a perfect example of rhythm.  In changing its shape through pressing it in various different ways, we can see that the appearances thus obtained have no effect other than that of setting it at a distance from its initial purity.  They do not touch its nature.  That having been said, we can deduce the importance, with regard to the rhythmic model, of the right order of the underlying stages that lead to it.  If the ways are many and have different attractions, if we are free to choose among them and can travel along them at our own pace, we must still never forget that the direction to be followed must lead to the unity of the end, to the most accomplished possible rhythm.  The principle is expressed in the circumference.  It can be seen as a totality of clearly located translations, or it can be seen as a mobile journeying, and, thus, unsituated.  It can be taken as a symbol for the simultaneity of these two states, in a nature that transcends them.