The Dimensionist Manifesto
Charles Sirato, Paris, 1936
Dimensionism is one of the living and leading examples of the Kunstwollen of
our age. Its unconscious origins reach back to Cubism and Futurism.
Nearly every cultured nation of civilization has been working on its
development since that time.
is the essence and theory of this great, universal and synoptic artistic
movement which is made conscious in our manifesto.
is, on the one hand, the modern spirit's completely new conception
of space and time (the development of which, in geometry, mathematics
and physics -- from Bólyai through Einstein -- is ongoing in
our days), and on the other, the technical givens of our age, that
have called Dimensionism to life.
the instinct that breaks through all barriers, has sent the pioneers
of creative art on their way towards completely new realms, leaving
older forms and exhausted essences as prey for less demanding artists!
must accept the fact that space and time are not separate categories
-- absolutes in opposition to one another -- as was earlier believed
and taken for granted, but rather that they are related dimensions
in the sense of the non-Euclidean conception. By intuiting this fact,
or by making it our own through conscious means, all the old borders
and barriers of the arts suddenly disappear.
new ideology has elicited a veritable earthquake, a landslide, in the
old artistic system. We designate the totality of relevant artistic
phenomena by the term "Dimensionism." (The formula "N
+ 1" expresses the Dimensionist development of the arts. It was
through Planism, the theory of two-dimensional literature, that we
noted its relevance to the arts. We generalized its application in
order that we might attribute -- in the most natural way possible --
the seemingly chaotic, unsystematic and inexplicable artistic phenomena
of our age to one single common law .)
BY A NEW FEELING FOR THE WORLD, THE ARTS -- IN COLLECTIVE FERMENTATION
(Their Interpenetration) -- HAVE BEEN SET INTO MOTION, AND EACH HAS
ABSORBED A NEW DIMENSION, EACH HAS FOUND A NEW FORM OF EXPRESSION INHERENT
IN THE NEXT DIMENSION (N + 1), opening the way to the weighty spiritual/intellectual
consequence of this fundamental change.
Dimensionist tendency has led to:
I. Literature leaving the line and entering the plane : Calligrammes ,
Typograms, Planism, Electric Poems.
II. Painting leaving the plane and entering space : Peinture
dans l'espace . Compositions Poly-matérielles ,
Constructivism. Spatial constructions. Surrealist objects.
III. Sculpture stepping out of closed, immobile forms (i.e.
out of forms conceived of in Euclidean space), in order that it
appropriate for artistic expression Minkowski's four-dimensional space .
has been, above all, "solid sculpture" that has opened itself
up, first to inner space, and then to movement; this is the sequence
of developments: Perforated sculpture; sculpture-ouverte ,
Mobile sculpture; Kinetic sculpture.
IV. And after this a completely new art form will develop: Cosmic
Art. The Vaporisation of Sculpture: "matter-music." The
artistic conquest of four-dimensional space, which to date has been
completely art-free. The human being, rather than regarding the art
object from the exterior, becomes the centre and five-sensed [öt-érzékszervü]
subject of the artwork, which operates within a closed and completely
controlled cosmic space.
This is how one would most concisely summarize the essence of Dimensionism:
Deductive with respect to the past. Inductive with respect to the future.
Alive in the present.
following artists signed the DIMENSIONIST MANIFESTO in Paris in 1936:
ARP; FRANCIS PICABIA; KANDINSKY; ROBERT DELAUNAY; MARCEL DUCHAMP;
PRAMPOLINI; CÉSAR DOMELA; CAMILLE BRYEN; SONIA DELAUNAY-TERK;
SOPHIE TAUBER-ARP; ERVAND KOTCHAR; PIERRE ALBERT-BIROT; FREDERICK
KANN; PRINNER; MARIO NISSIM; NINA NEGRI; SIRI RATHSMAN; CHARLES SIRATÓ
following foreign endorsements appeared in the first(movemental) edition
of the manifesto:
NICHOLSON (London); ALEXANDER CALDER (New
KAKABADZE (Tbilisi) ;
JOAN MIRÓ (Barcelona);
LÁSZLÓ MOHOLY-NAGY (London);
ANTONIO PEDRO (Lisbon).
* Translated from the Hungarian by Oliver Botar.
As the French version of the Manifeste Dimensioniste is available in plastique no. 2 (Summer 1937): insert; in its third edition (Paris: Morphème, 1965); and in Waldemar George's Kotchar et la
peinture dans l'espace (Paris: Galerie Percier, 1966), I have translated
from the Hungarian version published by Sirató in A Vízöntő-kor hajnalán, 209-211. Though dated “Paris 1936" by Tamkó Sirató, this version differs slightly from the French original, perhaps
reflecting Sirató's wording in the original Hungarian-language basis for the
manifesto, the Album Dimensioniste
(1936-66). This version probably also incorporates Sirató's thinking on the
subject in the mid-60s, when he returned to the question of “Dimensionism”.
Note, e.g., the addition of Alois Riegl's term Kunstwollen (müvészet-akarat); the replacement of “Western
civilization” with the less Euro-centric “cultured nation of civilization” in
the introductory paragraph, and the addition of Bólyai's name to that of
Einstein, particularly important in a Hungarian context, in paragraph three.
Sirató's elaboration of the section on “Cosmic Art” is garbled in the Hungarian
version, and is presented here in a slightly simplified form close to the
French version. Riegl first employed the term Kunstwollen in his Die spätrömische
Kunstindustrie, volume 1, published in 1901.
MOSAIC (Texts from the verso of the Manifeste Dimensioniste)