10/6/11

Five Wounds influences: Escher & Geometry


many_mansions

"I have seen Escher quoted a few times as an influence; this would be in relation to the 'Gabriella's Palace'.I created this illustration as a kind of automatic drawing, picking out furnishings and architectural features from my photos and constantly turning the image whilst working on it; so although I was referencing Escher's work, the illustration that I created has none of the mathematical logic and structure typical of his. The image is intended to reflect Gabriella's desire to remain lost in an incoherent web of rooms."


many_mansions_roughs

The title for 'Gabriella's Palace' is in fact 'Many Mansions'. The first rough is above, the concept was to create the idea of disconnected rooms. We also considered a cross section of a building similar to Chris Ware's cut away images of houses.






'Waterfall', by Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. When I was at school I was set drawing this for homework for maths class, as I was good at drawing. It was beyond my capabilities at 13 years old and It would still be a pain in the neck to draw now.

Escher was interested in incorporating principles of mathematics and physics into his work. In the same way that a drawing, through light, shade and colour, creates a visual illusion of reality; Escher used concepts such as infinity, multiplication and the mathematical laws that govern reality and included them in his work. During a trip to Granada, Spain, he was particularly inspired by the geometric division in islamic art.


Above: photo taken in the Alhambra, Granada. The complex and repetitive patterns in Islamic art express the infinite and continuous creation and recreation of life. Or, as Laleh Bakhtiar puts it: "...(geometric patterns) symbolize the cosmic process characterized by extension in all directions, by boundlessness and by infinite divisibility". The art form also reflects the deep interest in numbers and mathematics.


Today we are familiar with the fractal like patterns and symmetry of snowflakes, molecular structures, cells and crystals, including the recently discovered quasicrystals that resemble some of the tiling in the Alhambra. An example of this type of tiling is shown below. I once attempted to create a repeating textile pattern based on this tiling, but found that it is not very symmetrical. This tiling appears in Kepler's note books, many golden sections can be found in the design; which attribute to it's asymmetry.




A Meeting of Minds.


 

The number 'Five' is a recurring theme in the book; five senses, five protagonists, etc. In geometry the number 5 is represented as a pentagram, in which the golden ratio plays an important part. I incorporated pentagonal designs into the arabesques that appear on the cover.



Although I did not create any geometric patterns for 'Five Wounds' or attempt to represent infinity, I did divide the compositions at the rough stage using laws of golden ratio geometry. This seemingly excessive method of working integrates into the conceptual world of 'Five Wounds', as an anti-historical novel and the narrative's obsession with codes and interpretation. 

geometric composition


'DISEGNO' 3 'FENCING IS GEOMETRY BECAUSE IT'S LINES, CIRCLES, ANGLES, PLANES AND MEASURES. IT'S ARITHMETIC BECAUSE IT'S NUMBERS TOO. 4 'EVERY MOVEMENT OF THE BODY MAKES AN ANGLE OR AN EDGE. EVERY MOVEMENT OF THE SWORD MARKS A LINE. EVERY GUARD OR COUNTER-GUARD CAN BE RENDERED AS A NUMBER. (Extract from Five Wounds)


Nicoletto Giganti's fencing manual. An example of the images Jon sent as reference for the above illustration.


An annotated fencing diagram from Joachim Meyer's - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570. I found this image on BibliOdyssey. The concept of the 'Five Wounds' illustration, however, was to emphasise the pure, rational drawing; a reference to the separation of 'disegno & colore': "rational form to sensual content", as Jon describes it in his blog post 'Colour in Five Wounds', an important concept in art theory. 


Illustration from Dürer’s ‘Four Books on Measurement’. The Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius wrote a book in which he put forward the argument that a building should imitate nature. He based his architectural measurements and proportions on (idealized) proportions of the human body. Artists like Dürer and Da Vinchi created annotated diagrams of the human body inspired by his writings.


Some of my own 'studies' depicting movement and postures using 'Vitruvian' proportions.



Above is an illustration from Cesare Cesariano's book, which includes an Italian translation of Vitruvius' treatise on architecture. Below that is a page from 'Pistols! Treason! Murder!', in which one of Vano's victims is 'framed' in a similar pose.

A mandala I drew with felt tips and geometry.

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