Naum Gabo on permanent revolutions

"Kinetic Construction (Standing Wave)" by Naum Gabo, Winter 1919-1920

"Kinetic Construction (Standing Wave)" by Naum Gabo, Winter 1919-1920
Image credit: artnet

We had a dilemma to resolve, whether to go further on the way of destruction or to search for new bases for the foundation of a new Art. Our choice was not so difficult to make. The logic of life and the natural artistic instinct prompted us with its solution.

The logic of life does not tolerate permanent revolutions. They are possible on paper but in real life a revolution is only a means, a tool but never an aim. It allows the destruction of obstacles which hinder a new construction, but destruction for destruction’s sake is contrary to life. Every analysis is useful and even necessary, but when this analysis does not care about the results, when it excludes the task of finding a synthesis, it turns to its opposite, and instead of clarifying a problem it only renders it more obscure. Life permits to our desire for knowledge and exploration the most daring and courageous excursions, but only to the explorers who, enticed far away into unknown territories, have not forgotten to notice the way by which they came and the aim for which they started. In Art more than anywhere else in the creative discipline, daring expeditions are allowed.
Naum Gabo in “The Constructive Idea in Art”. Originally published in Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art, eds. Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Leslie Martin, (London: Faber and Faber, 1937), p. 108. Available in Stephen Bann‘s The Tradition of Constructivism, (New York: De Capo Press, 1990), p. 209. Essay begins on page 204.

Naum Gabo Posted on behalf of on Sunday, January 10th, 2010 under Quotations.

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