July 31, 2008

like a seer (v.h.)

Rosette ca. 1856, Pen and brown-ink wash on vellum paper folded twice. 8"x 7"

What Victor Hugo was searching for in these drawings were signs that would stimulate his imagination and suggest directions for his pen. Hugo interpreted these foldings, not for psychological purposes like the Swiss physician Hermann Rorschach with his famous tests introduced in 1921, but like a seer. He developed the symmetry, discerned resemblances, discovered figures and carried out all kinds of permutations. Reversal (or, better still, reversability), metamorphoses and fusion were themes so firmly rooted in Hugo's praxis that one commonly finds in his compositions a landscape reflected in water or a figure that reads equally well either way up. ---Florian Rodari.

Octopus with the initials V. H., ca. 1866, Ink wash on paper

Ma Destinée, 1867, 17.4 cm x 25.9 cm

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