Ten ThousandVisions




The Interrupted Line

By Michael Divine on November 19th, 2008

Something I’ve picked up from studying all kinds of art work – from Greene and Greene’s architecture to Dali’s paintings to roman architecture to well, most of the great artists is the "interrupted line". I don’t know if this is an actual term in the art world or in the academies of art but it is something quite real and valid.

It is a situation in which the eye follows the line to a point where, th line is interrupted and "raised" in some way by a degree, However, it can go much further than that even – by "line" I intend as much the basic line that never continues to be simply linear but ti break and drop or raise, to collections of lines, figures, etc – a whole vision that progresses by degrees to unfold before us. I don’t think I can find any literature on this or anything of the sort and perhaps I wil get to writing more on the subject at a later time. it is a curious thing tho- something that makes a visual reprentation more interesting. In nature, nothing is purely linear – the arcs and spirals of the world intermingle with no straight shots.

There is one image in paricular that comes to mind when I think about Dali in relation to this concept. It is a corner of the mural that is painted on the ceiling of the Dali Theater-Museum in Figueres. There is an angel or some figure with sort of flowing but tattering robes that is reaching up towards the heavens with a long trumpet and it’s back to the viewer. But as the eye follow up the figure, there seems to be this breaking apart and there is another angel reaching through this one with another trumpet whose trumpet is exactly where the first angel’s trumpet ought to be. Now, it dosn’t necessarily translate well here, but there is something beautifully unexpected about that composition. In this way, the expected linear quality of the angel with the trumpet is interrupted by another angel that passes through it and, yet, when one looks at it and considers the entire composition, not one element seems out of place or incongruous with the whole.

A straight line, as the eye follows it, begins to leave less and less to be expected as it’s consistency is prolonged by it’s length. The interruption should both be at a place that is proportionately sound with the rest of the composition as well as being a place that is unexpected yet, strangely perfect. Consider sound – the general sounds of the day. even that becomes a sort of linear pattern until the bird song interupts it all of a sudden with a trill and a dip or something. Our own minds what to do this as well. Our minds don’t want linear worlds. They want orchestras that have both a definite direction as well as unexpected overtures.

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