30. Diagonally

Horizontally [one stone layer and wire lines]. The rest is vertical, except the camera, slightly inclined, but not diagonal...
Horizontally [one stone layer and wire lines]. The rest is vertical, except the camera, slightly inclined, but not diagonal... © Antonio Juárez, 2015.

The apparently geometric rationality of the chessboard dominates the game. Playing consists, basically, on finding the right move, the right decision, the true way to surprise the enemy. Viktor Shklovsky knew very well this paradox, the paradox of chess, which underlies, secretly, every moment of life and art: moving straight, on culture, politics or poetry, is just such a conservative attitude which can be qualified as stubborn stupidity, as death of art and death of life.

The paradox of all revolution in art, social transformations and political demonstrations is that nothing can be canonized, not qualified as heretic by nobody, except by art itself… it’s true intrinsic nature, it’s inner logic, its internal truth, a canon within… In chess the directness movement of the tower, even the king, or queen, is distorted by the squeezed diagonality of the knight… The knight moves jumping on a “L” shaped manner, diagonal to the grid, and jumping against any obstacle and enemy. With the very same diagonally moves art within culture, art history and political transformations. Russian Formalist School of Poetry gave shape to the ‘other’ (more known) ‘Russian Formalisms’, constructivism, productivism, and other architects’ position, as Moisei Ginzburg’s, who crossed all over the world to crystallize in Mexico D.F. with Diego Rivera and Juan O’Gorman, who designed his studio house along with Frida Kahlo’s one in 1932.

The paradox of all art is that every revolution is just evolution, is to come back again to the initial point, to the origin, to the matrix flow where everything becomes new, again and again…

Evolution and revolution are just very similar, “the dissimilarity of the similar”, Viktor Shklovsky put it, just to tell us that analogy is the secret law of knowledge, and art and science should return to the ‘fountainhead’, getting back to the origins…, without any consideration towards fashion, which vanishes like smoke in a windy day… gone with the wind… We may, otherwise, begin again with a new birth:

“Having become my own boss, I begged architecture in turn to take off her marble dress, remove her make up and reveal herself as she is, naked, like a young and graceful goddess; and, as corresponds to true beauty, renounce being agreeable and obliging” (1).


(1) Konstantin Melnikov


I want to thank part of these ideas to Joan Ockman as an-always-minor recognition for her insights during almost twenty years of academic learning and friendship. Some of these ideas were suggested by her in a visit to Madrid in June 2014. The rest are highly condensed from lots of conversations, classes and lectures since 1995 given by her all-around the world

Alberto Campo Baeza,  in his “Relentlessly Seeking Beauty”, quotes Melnikov’s text, at the Entrance Ceremony Address, Spanish Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, November 30th, 2014. The complete address, bilingual Spanish-English format, published along with the eloquent reply by Juan Bordes Caballero can be find in the complete form at the address bellow.