I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR TWO MONTHS and I can now gauge the intensity of Life.
Source: Blast #2, July 1915
|Published in Blast #2|
(Written from the Trenches).
Note.—The sculptor writes from the French trenches having been in the firing line since early in the war.
In September he was one of a patrolling party of twelve, seven of his companions fell in the fight over a roadway.
In November he was nominated for sergeancy and has been since slightly wounded, but expects to return to the trenches.
He has been constantly employed in scouting and patrolling and in the construction of wire entanglements in close contact with the Boches.
|The Artist at Work Before the War|
HUMAN MASSES teem and move, are destroyed and crop up again.
HORSES are worn out in three weeks, die by the roadside.
DOGS wander, are destroyed, and others come along.
WITH ALL THE DESTRUCTION that works around us NOTHING IS CHANGED, EVEN SUPERFICIALLY. LIFE IS THE SAME STRENGTH. THE MOVING AGENT THAT PERMITS THE SMALL INDIVIDUAL TO ASSERT HIMSELF.
THE BURSTING SHELLS, the volleys, wire entanglements, projectors,motors, the chaos of battle DO NOT ALTER IN THE LEAST, the outlines of the hill we are besieging. A company of PARTRIDGES scuttle along before our very trench.
IT WOULD BE FOLLY TO SEEK ARTISTIC EMOTIONS AMID THESE LITTLE WORKS OF OURS.
THIS PALTRY MECHANISM, WHICH SERVES AS A PURGE TO OVER-NUMEROUS HUMANITY.
THIS WAR IS A GREAT REMEDY.
IN THE INDIVIDUAL IT KILLS ARROGANCE, SELF-ESTEEM, PRIDE.
IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE MASSES NUMBERS UPON NUMBERS OF UNIMPORTANT UNITS, WHOSE ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES BECOME NOXIOUS AS THE RECENT TRADE CRISES HAVE SHOWN US.
MY VIEWS ON SCULPTURE REMAIN ABSOLUTELY THE SAME.
IT IS THE VORTEX OF WILL, OF DECISION, THAT BEGINS.
I SHALL DERIVE MY EMOTIONS SOLELY FROM THE ARRANGEMENT OF SURFACES, I shall present my emotions by the ARRANGEMENT OF MY SURFACES, THE PLANES AND LINES BY WHICH THEY ARE DEFINED.
Just as this hill where the Germans are solidly entrenched, gives me a nasty feeling, solely because its gentle slopes are broken up by earth-works, which throw long shadows at sunset. Just so shall I get feeling, of whatsoever definition, from a statue ACCORDING TO ITS SLOPES, varied to infinity.
I have made an experiment. Two days ago I pinched from ran enemy a mauser rifle. Its heavy unwieldy shape swamped me with a powerful IMAGE of brutality.
I was in doubt for a long time whether it pleased or displeased me.
I found that I did not like it.
I broke the butt off and with my knife I carved in it a design, through which I tried to express a gentler order of feeling, which I preferred.
BUT I WILL EMPHASIZE that MY DESIGN got its effect (just as the gun had) FROM A VERY SIMPLE COMPOSITION OF LINES AND PLANES.
MORT POUR LA PATRIE
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska : after
months of fighting and two promotions
for gallantry Henri
Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in
a charge at Neuville St. Vaast, on
June 5th, 1915.
Source: Blast #2, July 1915