Circles and Art

Time keeps going in Ghosts Before Breakfast, Hans Richter, 1928

Filmmaker Hans Richter (1888-1976) has been a favorite sort of dream of mine since the first year in our program. Richter believed that “the artist’s duty was to be actively political, opposing war and supporting the revolution.” That’s fine, of course, but isn’t everything linked to time as an ide? Thinking back and forth of dust and breadcrumbs, of dual-meanings in art, self-destructing ideas in art, going backwards is a large part of what I reflect on when I feel creative. These sorts of “theater of the mind” roundabouts seem so interesting to me. Think dreams. From 1967, Jean Tinguely in Art is Revolution, “Art is the idea in my thinking.”
Art may be a way of showing me time, which then reminds me again and again of the circle. The wheel with its roundness, these are all ideas which come around again and again for me. Whether an old clock, a light, or the wheel of the hurdy-gurdy. Richter’s work dates back to the early 1900s; so does Alfred Jarry’s pataphysics, which I’ve reproduced below in a roundabout, graphic symbol from that dreamy period.

Dada art, too, resonates with roundness. So also the riddle of life and death. The circle is such a primal form, a form for planets, biological cells, the lens of a camera, the shape of a flower, the eye.  My art seems come back to this idea through the wheel of the hurdy-gurdy. My one play was called The Circle.  Here is a pataphysical fantasy spin on the IMRC logo.

Here is Alfred Jarry’s invented character had circles on his belly.