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A structural analysis of constantin Brancusi’s stone sculpture Dawn, Leslie Allan 1982

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A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI'S STONE SCULPTURE by LESLIE ALLAN DAWN B.A. , M.A., Universi ty of V i c to r i a A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Art History We accept th is thesis as conforming to the required standard © LESLIE ALLAN DAWN UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1982 All rights reserved. This thesis may not be reproduced in whole or in part3 by mimeograph or other means3 without the permission of the author. In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Ws>TQg.»? CF E)g.T The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date (3/81) i i ABSTRACT It has long been recognized by Sidney Geist and others that Constantin Brancusi 's stone work, af ter 1907, forms a coherent t o t a l i t y in which each component depends on i t s re lat ionship to the whole for i t s s ign i f i cance ; in shor t , the oeuvre comprises a rigorous sculptural language. Up to the present, however, formal is t approaches have proven i nsu f f i c i en t for decodifying the c lear design which can be in tu i ted in the language. The resul tant confusion can be at t r ibuted to the fact that formalism takes only hal f of the work's s ign i f icance into account. Yet Brancusi 's careful se lect ion of t i t l e s , and his insistence on content, indicate that the l a t t e r plays an equal part in estab l ish ing the re l a -t ionships between his sculptures. A s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis which treats his work as a system composed of signs and which takes both form ( s i gn i f i e r ) and content (s ign i f ied) into account, and relates each piece to the whole, seems imperative. Various features of Brancusi 's work, including his mythological themes (Prometheus, the Danaids) and transformations (Leda, Maiastra) , as well as the presence of para l le l yet opposing works (George, Princess Xj and reconci led dua l i t i es (the K i s s ) , correspond to Le"vi-Strauss' observations on the features of "mythic" thought or "concrete" l og i c . Thus L^v i -Strauss 1 s t r uc tu ra l i s t methodology was chosen from those a v a i l -able for analyzing Brancusi 's work. This choice i s strengthened by Brancusi 's pr imi t ive background in Romania, his techniques ( la t a i l l e d i rec te ) , and his a f f i l i a t i o n with the French avant garde when i t was i i i drawing insp i ra t ion from pr imi t ive ar t . It i s the thesis of th is study that Brancusi was a "pr imi t ive thinker" working in P a r i s , and that the structure of his sculptural language functions l i k e a pr imi t ive myth-ology. Language systems do not depend s o l e l y , however, on the i r internal re lat ionships for the i r s ign i f i cance ; they draw much of i t from the i r soc ia l context. It i s thus necessary to reconstruct the h i s to r i ca l mi l ieu from which Brancusi drew his ideas. A s t r uc tu ra l i s t and h i s to r i ca l analysis of the K i ss , the corner-stone of Brancusi 's stone work, indicates that the sculpture does, in fac t , function l i n g u i s t i c a l l y l i k e a mythic object , and that i t has a highly complex, and densely packed s ign i f i cance . The l a t t e r ar ises from Brancusi 's major sources of i nsp i ra t i on : the sculpture of Rodin and the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Although these have been noted before, there has never been any systematic study of the in f luence, pa r t i cu la r l y of the l a t t e r , on Brancusi 's work. The s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis employed here indicates that Brancusi continued to employ Bergson's concepts of glan v i t a l e , i n t u i t i o n , durat ion, creat ive evo lu t ion, and the oppositions between consciousness and unconsciousness, the continuous and d iscont in-uous, material and s p i r i t u a l , from the ear ly Kiss to the las t Birds in  Space. On the other hand, Brancusi transformed Bergson's ideas into his sculptural language and inverted those which did not correspond to the requirements of the mythology. A s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis of the sculpture af ter the Kiss confirms the accepted theory that Brancusi developed his works in se r i es , but also supplements i t by demonstrating that these ser ies are as much l inked by i v content as by form, that i s , they proceed both metaphorically and meto-nymical ly. Furthermore, the analysis indicates that the four major ser ies are, in turn, systemat ical ly l inked to each other. I t appears that Brancusi conceived his ser ies in opposing para l le l pairs which could be transformed, through mediating elements, into each other. When the ser ies are f i n a l l y l inked the conceptual in f ras t ruc tu re , or metalanguage, which establ ishes the re lat ionships between the t o t a l i t y and the par ts , becomes c lea r . Various other opposi t ions, such as those of male/female, sacred/profane, human/animal, can also be seen to re late opposing works and ser ies to each other. The ent i re s t ructure, however, rotates around the Bergsonian dualism of the material and the s p i r i t u a l . Only when the f ina l work has been placed in the s t r uc tu ra l i s t matrix can the system be perceived as coherent. Nonetheless, once the basic concepts of Brancusi 's early works and the i r semantic re lat ionships are c lea r l y understood, his system of sculptures can be seen to proceed with such r igor that the existence of cer ta in works can be predicted. Th is , in turn , val idates the appl icat ion of both the methodology and the ana lys is . V TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT 1 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS v LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS v i PREFACE v 1 n ' INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER I 5 CHAPTER II . . . . 3 4 CHAPTER III 5 6 CHAPTER IV 9 5 CHAPTER V 1 1 9 CHAPTER VI 1 4 7 CHAPTER VII 1 7 3 CONCLUSION 1 9 3 BIBLIOGRAPHY 2 0 0 vi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Penguin Island . •. 133 A Penguin Island 133 B Figure 1 91 A Figure 2 112 A Figure 3 113 A Figure 4 115 A Figure 5 168 A Figure 6 187 A v i i PREFACE This study and analysis of Constantin Brancusi 's work owes much to several people. It was Dr. Ida Rigby who f i r s t encouraged me to pursue the topic and suggested the d i rec t ion i t could take. The s ta f f at the Centre Georges Pompidou in P a r i s , which houses the Brancusi archives and a rep l ica of his s tud io , together with several of his works, were most he lp fu l . In pa r t i cu la r I would l i ke to acknowledge the kind assistance of Mar ie l le Tabart, Nadine Pou i l l on , Ophe'lie S t i f f l e r and Came'e de Li H e r s . The information obtained at the Centre, where I was able to examine Brancusi 's personal l i b r a r y , photographs and drawings, was invaluable to my research. F ina l l y I would l i k e to thank Dr. Serge Guilbaut and Dr. David Sol kin for overseeing the progress and completion of th is study. Their comments, c r i t i c i sms and insights were most he lp fu l . Depending on the source, quotes are e i ther in French or Eng l ish ; I have done no t rans la t ing . T i t l es of sculptures are general ly given in the i r accepted ang l ic ized vers ion. I l l us t ra t i ons of the indiv idual pieces have been omitted since they are well represented in Sidney Ge is t ' s works. Graphic i l l u s t r a t i o n s have been included only when necessary to show re lat ionships described in the tex t . INTRODUCTION Our understanding of the art of Brancusi up to the present has been based on impress ion is t i c , b iographical ly oriented c r i t i c i s m on the one hand, and a fragmentary knowledge of the sculpture on the other; i t has been prey to metaphysical in terpretat ion from without and a l l manner of doubt and imprecision from wi th in . The disarray in which the oeuvre is customarily presented has tended, besides, to disturb i t s c lear design and to dissolve the re lat ions between the whole and i t s pa r t s . ' Sidney Ge is t ' s chronological examination of Brancusi 's oeuvre did much to c l a r i f y thinking about both the sculpture and the sculptor . It was, however, as Geist subsequently pointed out, essen t ia l l y l imi ted to a formal ana lys i s , although some valuable biographical material was also included. The present study attempts to take Ge is t ' s work one step forward. I t , too, w i l l explore the "c lear design" and "the re lat ions between the whole and i t s par ts . " In order to accomplish th is end, Brancusi 's oeuvre of stone work w i l l be subjected to a s t r uc tu ra l i s t analys is—that i s , the whole w i l l be viewed as a complete language system, and the parts w i l l be examined as l o g i c a l l y related units within the whole. A special brand of s t r uc tu ra l i s t theory, that developed by Claude Le"vi-Strauss, w i l l be employed as i t provides the most pert inent paradigm for analysing the re lat ionships between the units and the t o t a l i t y . In order to understand these re la t i ons , the works themselves must be re-examined, not only in the i r b iographica l , but also the i r h i s t o r i ca l context. Th is , too, supplements Ge is t ' s work as much new information based on extensive 2 or ig ina l research is introduced here for the f i r s t time. Indeed, i t w i l l provide an en t i re ly new scope and range to Brancusi 's work that has been previously al luded to only in passing or completely ignored. This is not the f i r s t occasion of such an ana lys is . Jack Burnham, in The Structure of A r t , used some of Lev i -St rauss ' ideas in an examina-2 t ion of one of Brancusi 's p ieces, the Leda. As w i l l be seen, Burnham's work was at once too broad.and too l imi ted to be of great value. It f a i l e d in several respects. Consequently i t seems to have done more to d i sc red i t the appl icat ion of s t r uc tu ra l i s t p r inc ip les to art h istory than to advance them. One of the major l im i ta t ions of Burnham's analysis was i t s use of only a f rac t ion of Brancusi 's oeuvre. The parameters shal l be broadened here to include a l l of the stone work produced af ter the Kiss of 1907. Several reasons can be given for establ ish ing these broader parameters. Brancusi 's work can be and has been categorized according to the materials he employed: stone, metal and wood. There are only two instances where a concept expressed in stone also f inds expression in 3 wood. Otherwise the two areas do not overlap. Gregory Saltzman has demonstrated that Brancusi employed a set of forms exc lus ive ly reserved 4 for wood. This set was l imi ted and heterogeneous, but was combined and recombined in a l l pieces in th is mater ia l . This vocabulary of forms was not used for works in stone in which, as sha l l be shown herein, a d i f fe rent set of repeated elements was employed. On the other hand, Brancusi regarded bronze as an intermediary material rather than a d i s t i n c t category unto i t s e l f . Conceptions in both stone and wood were 3 also created in th is mater ia l . It can, however, now be safe ly concluded that Brancusi 's wood sculpture and his stone work consist of and con-s t i t u te two separate syntaxes, grammars and vocabular ies—in short , two d i s t i n c t language systems. This i s not to say that the two sets are not related in some manner, or that a s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis cannot be employed with wood as with the stone work. It i s hoped that , in the fu ture, such w i l l in fact appear. Before th is can occur, however, the basic elements of the stone work must also be examined in depth. The conclusions reached in th is study w i l l demonstrate that much of the subject ive, impressionis t ic and even the metaphysical observations of Brancusi 's oeuvre have a cer ta in v a l i d i t y . Lacking a su f f i c i en t l y s c i e n t i f i c and rigorous methodology, however, these observations have tended to become, as Geist pointed out, confused and clouded. Ge is t ' s studies of the sculpture, although of landmark importance, and more object ive in the i r analysis than those of his predecessors, are also not without l im i ta t ions and confusions. It i s hoped that th is work w i l l c l a r i f y his conclusions and give deeper ins ights into the meaning of Brancusi 's ind iv idual works, the re lat ionships between them, and the stone oeuvre as a t o t a l i t y . I f success fu l , i t should also give a more profound appreciat ion of Brancusi the thinker and philosopher as well as the sculptor . 4 Footnotes: Introduction 1. Sidney Ge i s t , Brancusi: a study of the sculpture (New York: Grossman Publ ishers , 1968), p. i i i . (Hereafter c i ted as Ge is t , 1968.) 2. Jack Burnham, The Structure of Art (New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1973, revised ed i t i on . ) 3. A "Study" in wood of 1916 was used as the formal basis for the larger "Por t ra i t of Mrs. Meyer," 1930, marble. The two versions of the tu r t les in wood and marble share only the i r t i t l e s , they are neither formally nor contextual ly s im i l a r . 4. Gregory Salzman, "Brancusi 's Woods," unpublished M.A. Report (London: Courtauld Ins t i tu te of A r t , May 15, 1972). 5 CHAPTER I The value of any methodology may be measured by the degree to which i t expands our awareness or v is ion of the subject to which i t is appl ied. Conversely, "its value is diminished i f i t does violence e i ther to i t s own terms or to i t s subject. A s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana l ys i s , no less than any other, i s open to the danger of an excess of subject ive interpretat ion and the se lec t ive manipulation of data to f u l f i l i t s own requirements. To avoid th is danger, de f in i te parameters of operation must be estab-l ished which w i l l ensure that the methodology i s applied r igorously and that the in terpretat ion of information is confined to de f in i te l i m i t a -t ions imposed by the subject . Controls are essent ia l as the methodology is s t i l l in an experimental stage, espec ia l ly in i t s appl icat ion to the problems of ar t h i s to ry , and has had i t s c r e d i b i l i t y undermined in th is f i e l d by past misappl icat ions. As is to be expected in a sculptural oeuvre which is characterized by the abstract ion of forms and the el iminat ion of a l l non-essential d e t a i l , nothing i s without s ign i f i cance . A l l pert inent aspects of each work must be accounted fo r . Fortunately, Sidney Geist has provided a deta i led and re l i ab le inventory of the parts that are not always v i s i b l e or apparent in i l l u s t r a t i o n s . Ge is t ' s f i r s t major study of the sculpture and his l a te r catalogue raisonne* w i l l be referred to frequently.^ 6 Other aspects of Ge is t 1 s ana lys i s , however, must be subjected to a degree of c r i t i c a l scru t iny . Only on one or two rare but important occasions has he explored the broader h i s to r i ca l s ign i f icance or the content of Brancusi 's work. As shal l be demonstrated, Geist s formal is t methodology separates his approach from that of s t ructura l ism. This i s , however, not the only pert inent d i f ference. For the sake of argument, i t w i l l be assumed that the formal is t paradigm operates on several p r i nc ip les . I t i s te leo log ica l and d ia -chronic. I t assumes an order to the evolut ion of modernist a r t . This development i s exc lus ive : i t does not re f l ec t or include broader aspects of cu l tu re , society or h istory outside the a r t i s t i c realm. The informa-t ion i t u t i l i z e s is general ly drawn s t r i c t l y from that offered by the forms of the work i t s e l f . The conclusions i t reaches are based on the way th is information corresponds to the general evolutionary theory. Content i s seen as only of secondary importance, and i s often discarded al together. Many forms of s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis d i f f e r from the te leo log ica l and diachronic pr inc ip les of formalism in that they frequently disregard history al together. They have been, in f ac t , c r i t i c i z e d for being pr imar i ly synchronic rather than d iachronic ; that i s , they view re la t i on -ships between terms in language systems (sculpture being considered here as a language system) as they ex is t at one point in t ime, rather than as they evolved h i s t o r i c a l l y . The general j u s t i f i c a t i o n for th is pred i lec-t ion is that an indiv idual using a language does not depend for his competence on a knowledge of the evolut ion of e i ther the terms he uses 7 or of the i r re la t ionsh ips . He only needs to know the immediate meaning of the terms and the current syntax and grammar in order to use the language cor rec t l y . He does not recapi tu late the h i s to r i ca l evolution of the language each time he speaks, nor i s he general ly intent on changing i t . This is not the case, however, with sculptors of the Par is ian avant garde during the f i r s t decades of th is century. A r t i s t s such as Brancusi , who jo inted the avant garde between 1907 and 1909, were very much aware of the h i s to r i ca l evolut ion of the i r respective languages. They were, in f ac t , se l f -consc ious ly engaged in creating new vocabular-i e s , syntaxes and grammars of sculpture. As a consequence, the meaning of indiv idual works i s frequently derived from the i r h i s to r i c re la t i on -ships to preceding works, and to the manner in which they al tered the sculptural language. Brancusi 's K i s s , for example, gains much of i t s meaning from i t s d i rec t re la t ionsh ip to an e a r l i e r work by Rodin of a s im i la r t i t l e and theme but of a completely d i f fe rent form. Thus i t is necessary to inc lude, and even emphasize aspects of both the general evolut ion of sculpture, and of Brancusi 's developing sculptural language in the present s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys is . The diachronic must here be balanced with the synchronic. I t would seem, then, that the s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis to be employed here w i l l have to overlap somewhat with the diachronic formal is t format. The te leo log ica l p r inc ip le of the l a t t e r dist inguishes i t , however, from s t r uc tu ra l i s t premises. These do not general ly employ predetermined evolutionary models. Rather the evolut ion of terms in 8 language systems and of the re lat ionships between them is thought to be a rb i t r a r y , although the i r meaning is conditioned by the society in which they are employed. The te leo log ica l and exclusive pr inc ip les of formal is t discourse also condit ion the information employed. The forms are seen as being of most s ign i f i cance , hence the concept of " s i gn i f i can t form," This at t i tude towards form contains the primary di f ference which separates formalism and s t ruc tura l ism, as applied to a r t . A more extensive d i s -cussion of the s t r uc tu ra l i s t paradigm and of the concept of ar t as a language system w i l l c l a r i f y th is d i s t i n c t i o n . S t ruc tu ra l i s t studies are designed to examine language systems. They examine both the elements or terms wi th in language systems and the i r re lat ionships to each other and the whole. The basic unit of any language system is the s ign . Signs are composed of two re lated par ts , the s i g n i f i e r and the s i g n i f i e d . For example, the word "head" is a s i g n i f i e r , the object or concept to which i t refers —head—is what i t s i g n i f i e s , or the s i g n i f i e d . I t should be noted that the re la t ionship between the form of the s i g n i f i e r and the s i gn i f i ed in a r t i cu la ted language is a rb i t ra ry . The word "head" is in no way dependent on the thing i t s i g n i f i e s ; i t may jus t as e f fec t i ve ly be " tete" or even "glom." Words are however not the only things which can s ign i fy r e l a t i on -ships and thereby form language systems. Non-verbal language systems are now recognized. In f ac t , a l l aspects of cul ture s i g n i f y , and have symbolic meaning. Clothes, fo r example, may s ign i f y soc ia l r e la t i on -9 ships. Information may be cod i f ied in them. As such they const i tute a language system. L^vi-Strauss ind ica tes : Le langage est la plus par fa i te de toutes les manifestations d'ordre cu l ture l qui forment, a un t i t r e ou & 1'autre, des systemes, et s i nous voulons comprendre ce que c 'es t que 1 'ar t , la r e l i g i o n , le d r o i t , peut-§tre m§me la cuis ine ou les r&gles de la po l i t esse , i l faut les concevoir comme des codes formes part 1 'a r t i cu la t ion de s ignes, sur le modele'de l a communication l i ngu is t ique .3 As Ldvi-Strauss points out, ar t i s now considered to be a language system. The vocabulary of s t ructura l ism has been read i l y , i f loosely appl ied to ar t h is tory . Terms such as grammar, syntax, metonymic, metaphoric, and paradigmatic are now embedded in ar t h i s t o r i ca l and c r i t i c a l discourse. Signs used in ar t are, however, of a d i f ferent order than those of a r t i cu la ted words, as a d i f fe rent re la t ionsh ip occurs between the s i g n i f i e r and the s i g n i f i e d . As Le"vi-Strauss points out: " le langage a r t i cu le est un systeme de signes a r b i t r a r i e s , sans rapport sensible avec les object q u ' i l se propose de s i g n i f i e r , tandis que, dans 1 'ar t , une re la t ion sensible continue d 'ex i s te r entre le signe et 1 'object ."^ This " re la t ion sensib le" occurs in the fact that the object which s i g n i f i e s , that i s , the work of a r t , resembles the thing s i g n i f i e d . Its form is not a rb i t ra ry . Le"vi-Strauss recognizes th is feature of representational a r t : " . . . le caractere pa r t i cu l i e r du- langage de 1 'ar t , c 'es t q u ' i l ex is te toujours une homologie tr£s profonde entre la structure 5 due signif ie* et la structure du s i g n i f i a n t . " In the general taxonomy of sign systems developed by P ie rce , signs which look l i k e what they s ign i f y are ca l led icons.^ 10 The degree of resemblance i s of some importance in our ana lys is . In f ac t , the s ign i f i cance of Brancusi 's work often depends on how c lose ly i t ac tua l ly resembles the object to which i t r e fe rs , o r , conversely, the degree to which i t i s abstracted and approaches the arb i t rary character of a r t i cu la ted language. Brancusi 's work thus stands somewhere between words, which have a form that i s t o t a l l y arb i t rary when compared with what they s i g n i f y , and t o t a l l y r e a l i s t i c sculpture which does i t s best to imitate prec ise ly the forms of the object i t represents. This balance i s , in f ac t , essent ia l to understanding Brancusi 's work as a system of s igns. Levi-Strauss has s tated: Si l ' a r t £ t a i t une imi tat ion complete de 1'object, i l n 'aura i t plus le caractere de signe. Si bien que nous pouvons concevoir, me s e m b l e - t - i l , l ' a r t comme un systeme s i g n i f i c a t i f , ou un ensemble de systemes s i g n i f i c a n t i f s , mais qui reste toujours el mi-chemin entre le langage et 1'object.7 On the other hand, another semantic problem ar ises i f the work in question is non-object ive, s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l , o r , in a word, formal. In th is case the work is not an icon or a sign in the l i n g u i s t i c sense as the re la t ionship between form and content and consequently between s i g n i f i e r and s i g n i f i e d has been broken. Le*vi-Strauss has repeatedly ins is ted that a purely abst ract , formal is t ar t does not const i tute a language system since i t has los t i t s power of s i g n i f i c a t i o n . ' ' 9 It i s assumed that , fo r L^v i -St rauss, s i gn i f i can t form is a contradict ion in terms when taken in a l i n g u i s t i c sense. It i s th is view of non-objective ar t that separates Le*vi-Strauss 1 structural ism from formal is t ana lys is . Le*vi-Strauss claims that in formalism, " . . . les deux domaines doivent §tre absolument se"pare"s, car 11 [ in the l a t t e r ] la forme seule est i n t e l l i g i b l e , et le contenu n'est qu'un rdsidu ddpourvu de valeur s i gn i f i an te . Pour le s t ructura l isme, cette opposit ion n 'ex is te pas." Marc-Lipiansky comments that , for s t ruc tura l ism, "forme et contenu e"tant de m§me nature, doivent §tre soumis ci une m§me a n a l y s e . " ^ Although the opposit ion between non-representative ar t and st ructural ism is not as simple as Levi-Strauss states th is problem does not occur here. A l l of Brancusi 's stone works are representational and s ign i f y something d i r ec t l y through the i r resemblance to something other than themselves. Brancusi '"always started out from some recognizable 8 image in nature ' " although he also bel ieved ' that ' " a r t i s not copying 8a na ture . ' " Brancusi himself was to say: "'They are fools who ca l l my work abstract . What they think to be abstract i s the most r e a l i s t i c , because what i s real i s not the outer form, but the idea, the essence of th ings. " | 8 b This and Brancusi 's careful se lect ion of t i t l e s i s proof enough that both content and form are integral parts of his conceptions. Yet the analysis of content is the more d i f f i c u l t . The information i s less immediately ava i l ab le , and often embedded in the soc ia l and h i s to r i ca l context of the period in which Brancusi was operat ing. The problems which may be involved in , reconstruct ing th is context can be made evident by a b r ie f reference to a s ingle example: Leda. The t i t l e d i rec t l y denotes a character in c l a s s i c a l mythology. Aspects of th is myth are essent ia l to the conception of the work. Brancusi 's recorded statements confirm t h i s . Yet he recreated the myth in a pecul iar and personal 12 fashion which must also be accounted for . On another l e v e l , Leda connotates a human/God transformed into a swan. This transformation between a tame water-bird and a man (or, in th is case, a woman) is highly important. Beyond that , however, swans had a par t i cu la r meaning at the turn of the century in French popular and fo lk cu l tu re . Furthermore, the sculpture was also known as Fecundity. This t i t l e d i rec t l y refers to a spec i f i c l i t e r a r y and cu l tu ra l source current during the time Brancusi was f i r s t developing his oeuvre. A l l of these aspects and some others must be accounted for . Such i s not only the case with Leda, but with each of the works in the oeuvre. As with the forms, cont inui ty and var ia t ions in content w i l l be explored in the development of the various se r i es . Although th is has not been previously noted, i t w i l l be demon-strated that the indiv idual works are as much l inked by content as by form. I t i s , then, the form and the content combined which const i tu te the components of the ' t ex t ' of Brancusi 's i con ic s i g n i f i e r s . It i s in turn in the i r broader soc ia l and h i s to r i ca l se t t i ng , that i s , the i r funct ional response to the i r environment, that the ind iv idual works gain t he i r meaning. A s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana l ys i s , unl ike a formal is t ana lys i s , i s able to recognize content as related to the broader soc ia l s i t ua t i on . Indeed, Brancusi 's forms and t i t l e s have denotations and connotations which may involve references to mythology, philosophy, technology, music, l i t e ra tu re and p o l i t i c s . The sources of his concerns almost always l i e , however, within the larger t o t a l i t y of the " co l l ec t i ve consciousness" of the-avant garde. In order to guard against excessively impress ion is t ic 13 mis in terpre ta t ions, a concensus of c r i t i c a l opinion as i t current ly stands w i l l serve as the basis for decodifying the works. Where th is proves i nsu f f i c i en t or can be demonstrated to be incor rec t , new data, based on o r ig ina l research into primary sources, w i l l be added to estab-l i shed ideas or to resolve any con f l i c t s which may ex i s t . The purpose of th is study i s , then, to t reat Brancusi 's stone work as a language system and to examine the internal log ica l re la t ionships but not in i so la t i on from relevant external in f luences; pr imar i ly the develop-fir * ment of the avant garde in Pa r i s . Levi-Strauss has developed a s t ruc-t u r a l i s t methodology for examining the re lat ionships between units in non-verbal language systems, s p e c i f i c a l l y as they apply to pr imi t ive cu l tures. The j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the appl icat ion of th is paradigm to Brancusi w i l l fo l low th is out l ine of his methodology. In order to i n i t i a t e th is exp lora t ion , two things must be c l a r i f i e d : Lev i -St rauss ' general precepts on the non-verbal language systems and his theories on how the re lat ionships between units in these systems work. His theories rest on the basic premise that a l l cu l tu ra l phenomena operate as secondary codes or non-verbal language systems which 9 contain and transmit information. As such, the various features of pr imi t ive cu l tu res , be they a r t i s t i c , mythological , s o c i a l , ceremonial or economic, are ordered by rules of syntax and grammar within the tota l (language) system. The underlying structure (or syntax) of "p r im i t i ve" thought, as expressed in the complex re lat ionships between cu l tu ra l features, can then best be studied by adopting a formal t ransposi t ion of the methodology and discourse of modern s t ructura l l i n g u i s t i c s . ^ 14 Indeed, Le'vi-Strauss acknowledges his debt to Fernand de Saussure, and borrowed many of his terms from the science of semiology. Levi-Strauss invokes the l i n g u i s t i c axiom which postulates that the meaning of any unit or sign in a language system can only be derived from an analysis of the place which i t occupies in the system and i t s r e l a t i on -ship to other u n i t s . ^ If we lack knowledge of the to ta l system and the re lat ionships :- between the terms or units,, the par t i cu la r s igns , however graphic, w i l l 12 remain mute, and our knowledge fragmentary. Conversely, i f the re lat ionships between the component parts are examined l i n g u i s t i c a l l y , one can achieve a c lear understanding of the operation of the tota l s y s t e m . ^ 3 This has several impl ica t ions. It i s immediately evident that each unit which serves as a var iant on a common theme, ( i . e . , a mythological story or kinship term, or in th is case, a sculpture) must be analyzed not only in terms of i t s own form and content, but also in re la t ion to the other units in the system and to the ent i re set . It i s , in f ac t , the re lat ionships between units that i s s i gn i f i can t about them. In Lev i -St rauss ' analysis of mythological systems, the consti tuent "un i ts" of each myth are arr ived at by breaking down indiv idual myths into related par ts , ca l led "mythemes." This i s a problematic process. In Brancusi 's scu lp ture, however, each un i t , or scu lp tu re , . i s c l ea r l y defined as an en t i t y . The const i tuent "parts" are embedded in the form and content of each work. 15 Where various versions of mythological s tor ies occur, the parts that ar ise most frequently in each are used as the s i gn i f i can t un i ts . S i m i l a r l y , with Brancusi 's sculpture, where more than one version of a s ing le image occurs, the most s i gn i f i can t aspects are not l o s t . As Brancusi ref ined cer ta in works, such as the Kiss or Mi le Pogany, each successive version maintained common features which preserved i t s c ruc ia l s i g n i f i c a t i o n . Nonetheless, the in terpretat ion of the elements which make up the complex fabr ic of meaning in any icon ic sigh i s a d i f f i c u l t process. Fortunately, in th is instance, Le*vi-Strauss' model provides a paradigm for the system that governs the i r combination, that i s , the i r syntax. L^v i -St rauss ' research has indicated that the re lat ionships between parts of a cu l tura l whole have a special nature in "pr imi t ive" thought. In f ac t , he postulates that the charac te r i s t i c operations of "p r im i t i ve" thought are binary and empi r ica l . That i s to say, "prim-i t i v e " thinkers es tab l ish categories and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s based on observed contrasts in the sensory qua l i t i es of concrete objects. These inc lude, for example, the di f ferences between the raw and the cooked, l i g h t and darkness, animal i ty and humanity, male and female, the l i v i n g and the dead, and nature and cu l ture . The basic abst ract , phi losophical and psychological problem of "p r imi t i ve" thought is to codify and categorize these opposi t ions, and where log ica l inconsistencies or con-t rad ic t ions ex is t between accepted be l ie fs or desires and observable data, to reconc i le , overcome or conceal them i f poss ib le . Ldvi-Strauss terms th is operation "concrete l o g i c , " and separates i t from modern 16 s c i e n t i f i c l o g i c , although he believes that , at times and in cer ta in p laces, the two can co -ex is t . The binary oppositions of "concrete log ic " form conceptual tools with which to elaborate abstract ideas and combine them in proposit ions which are embedded in cu l tura l phenomena, such as mythological systems. 13 These re lat ionships es tab l ish man's place in r e a l i t y . Lev i -St rauss ' analys is indicates that such a system has a log ica l form. In add i t i on , when presented as a related t o t a l i t y , i t can be seen to embody a cod i f ied system of ideas not necessar i ly inherent in any one uni t . These cod i f ied messages frequently allow cer ta in unpleasant truths about r ea l i t y to become pa la tab le , or cer ta in internal cu l tu ra l contradict ions to be surmounted, or they simply serve to codify.and organize information about the u n i v e r s e . ^ As binary opposit ions can be represented graph-i c a l l y , the underlying structure of the to ta l system can be seen as a matrix which i s general ly grouped around a s ingle or double a x i s , with a polar opposit ion at e i ther end. The re la t ionsh ips between the units are general ly based on e i ther opposi t ions, transformations or pa ra l l e l s between the un i ts . The log ica l re la t ionships between the un i t s , being l i n g u i s t i c in nature, can be e i ther metaphorical, that i s re lated by a recognit ion of s i m i l a r i t y , or metonymical, that is re lated by a recognit ion of cont igu i ty , or cause and e f fec t . When taken as a whole, the units form metaphorical or metonymical chains or se r ies . It remains to be seen how Lev i -St rauss ' theories as described above, on ' p r im i t i ve ' thought or 'concrete l og i c ' and the i r manifesta-17 t ions can be used to further our understanding and interpretat ions of Brancusi 's ind iv idual works and his oeuvre as a whole. The features which Le'vi-Strauss claims are fundamental to ' p r im i t i ve ' thought have been observed by various commentators as present in Brancusi 's work, but outside of a s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys is . In each case, a d i f fe rent termin-ology has been employed. The central feature of "concrete log ic " as described by Lev i -St rauss, that i s , the reconc i l i a t ion of con f l i c t i ng dua l i t i es observable in the empir ical wor ld, has long been recognized as an essent ia l part of Brancusi 's work and even of his l i f e . On the most fundamental l e v e l , Jianou has pointed out the reconc i l i a t i on between 15 nature and ar t in Brancusi 's work. David Lewis, in his monograph on Brancusi , noted of the sculpture in general that "Often . . . the idea was simultaneously, one of rad ia-t ion and power, and of i n f i n i t e cool t r a n q u i l i t y ; a blending of opposites into un i ty , of d i s c i p l i ne and freedom, of soaring energy and timeless s e r e n i t y . " ^ He elaborated on th is theme in terms of Brancusi 's peasant background and his posi t ion as the founder of modern sculpture. He also appl ied i t to ind iv idual works. Of the Montparnasse K i s s , for example, he sa id : Brancusi presents us with the dualism . . . o f the lovers ' own unique moment of se l f l ess innocent intimacy and oneness, forehead and body: and yet also the reverse of t h i s , i t s non-uniqueness, i ts general i ty . . . . He continues: Brancusi is presenting other dualisms too. He presents death and l i f e as an inseparable duality—two opposites, man and woman, each def ining the other: and death giv ing a sense of past and fu ture , of the contr ibut ion of the past to the cont inui ty of l i f e , of the 18 triumph of l i f e and love over death; for in his stone maguette for The Kiss . . . the woman wi th in the embrace is pregnant.?7 Although disagreeing with the in terpretat ion of the female as pregnant, Sidney Geist confirmed Lewis's observation on the Kiss when he stated that " . . . th is image of two f igures locked in an embrace is a permanent expression of the unity of love, which Plato ca l led 'the desire and pursuit of the whole ' . " Geist a lso observed the presence of purposely uni f ied opposites in other works by Brancusi. In his analysis of the Monuments at Tirgo J i u he interpreted the design on the uprights of the Gate as representing a conjunction of symbols for male and female g e n i t a l i a . The theme of the Gate i s love and community, upheld by sexual energy. The c i r c u l a r motifs on the columns j o in the t a l l curved planes immediately below to make a magical image of merged male and female gen i ta ls . . . . When the American sculptor Malvina Hoffman v i s i t ed Brancusi in the f a l l of 1938, on the eve of his departure fo r Rumania to attend the inauguration of the monument at Tirgu J i u , he asked her what she saw in the p las ter models of the columns. "I see the forms of two c e l l s that meet and create l i f e , " she sa id . "The beginning of l i f e . . . [ s i c ] through love. Am I r igh t?" "Yes, you a re , " said Brancusi.19 Elsewhere, Geist wrote of the Gate, "In i t s l i t e r a l and symbolic imagery, 20 i t merges the female Table and pha l l i c Column." Beyond e ro t i c i sm, and the opposit ion of the sexes, Brancusi 's works have been observed to contain other d u a l i t i e s . Ge is t , for example, in te r -21 preted the Endless Column as a "sacral l i nk between heaven and ear th . " Boime regards the Bird in F l igh t and the egg shaped Sculpture for the  B l ind as posi t ing "transcendental states of embryonism and ascension. Escape from self-consciousness is ident ica l with the unborn s ta te ; achiev-ing oneness with the universe i s l i ke recovering the i n d i v i s i b l e unity of 19 the e g g . " -Geist also applied 's imi lar concepts to the formal qua l i t i es of the oeuvre as a whole, and to Brancusi 's use of time: This f r i c t i o n of d i f ferent times —l i ke the confrontation in his work of object and essence, of weight and l i gh tness , of density and transparency, of order and accident , of the brand-new and the eternal —is another instance of Brancusi having i t both ways.23 For both Geist and others, Brancusi 's very existence as a pri-mitive in P a r i s , represented an opposit ion which had to be overcome. His peasant or ig ins and eventual urbanism made Brancusi the natural arena of a struggle between t rad i t iona l and rat ional modes of behavior. . . . For the most part i t i s resolved in the jo in ing of opposed forces to each other in the sculpture i t -s e l f . 24 Lewis s tated: He did not turn his back on the present in his detachment but sought, wi th in the swi f t changes, the uprootedness and fragmentar-iness of modern l i f e , a constancy of values. His solut ion to the problem of opposites which were i m p l i c i t l y in his own l i f e — Brancusi the man of the ear th , born a peasant in Roumania, close to nature, and Brancusi the thoughtful a r t i s t of the twentieth century in search of s p i r i t u a l s t a b i l i t y — i s not the least insp i r ing facet of his contr ibut ion.25 Later , in the same tex t , Lewis was to say, " fo r Brancusi , to combine 26 opposing elements into unity had special s i gn i f i cances . " The study of these s ign i f icances w i l l form the major focus of th is paper. The presence of un i f ied dua l i t i es i s , however, only one part of Lev i -St rauss ' theor ies. The other, as has been s a i d , is that the whole funct ion as a coherent, systematized language. Brancusi 's oeuvre f u l f i l l s th is requirement as w e l l . 20 Almost a l l students of Brancusi have observed, e i ther through i n t u i t i ve or empir ical evidence, that Brancusi 's oeuvre const i tutes a closed system of in ter re la ted units with a coherent syntax s im i la r to that of language. This i s , in less precise ar t h i s to r i ca l terms, usual ly referred to as an "universe of sculptural forms." Ionel Jianou presented th is idea in the f i r s t sentence of his study of Brancusi 's work: "Brancusi 's art forms a vast , coherent, 27 un i f ied whole." Sidney Ge is t , who c r i t i z e d many other aspects of J ianou's work, essen t ia l l y agrees with J ianou's evaluation and hinted at i t in his ear ly studies of Brancusi , but did not at that point state i t e x p l i c i t l y . In the introduct ion to his 1968 study, Geist stated that It [Ge is t ' s study] reveals an a r t i s t of imposing i n t e l l e c t u a l i t y — a fact which has been suspected, hinted a t , but not demonstrated; i t reveals a body of work whose inner re la t ions make i t appear a t i g h t l y reasoned essay in the problems and problematics of sculpture. 28 Geist a lso observed the l ink in Brancusi to language, comparing h i s . to Gertrude S te in : "The concern over beginnings led Gertrude Stein to an examination of words, verbal r e l a t i ons , and the very parts of speech; i t 29 led Brancusi to f ind a c lear and l imi ted sculptural syntax." Most important, Geist noted the re lat ionships between the pieces and the necessity of viewing them together rather than s ing l y : Seen s i ng l y , most of Brancusi 's sculptures are gent le , quiet and undeclamatory; they need one another, and numbers enhance the i r e f fect iveness. The concern for the re la t ion between his pieces i s mirrored by his concern for the re la t ion between any s ingle piece and the world: in th is re la t ion the pedestal i s the mediat-ing factor.30 21 In the opening sentence to the Guggenheim catalogue for the Brancusi retrospect ive of 1979, Geist re-establ ished the p r inc ip le that Brancusi 's work must be viewed as a t o t a l i t y , and that an understanding of the re lat ionships between the parts is necessary to comprehend each un i t . "It [the retrospect ive] should warn us of the error of taking any part for the whole; i t may even make c lear that there is a whole here 31 that needs a l l the par ts . " In a sect ion which i s worth quoting extens ive ly , Geist elaborated on the impl icat ions of such an oeuvre. The convict ion develops that the oeuvre is shaped and contro l led as ca re fu l l y as any of i t s par ts . It i s almost as d i f f i c u l t to consider in i so la t i on a s ing le work as i t i s to consider a part of any sculpture. The sense of an a r t i s t i c universe i s enforced by the scope and the gamut of formal concern. . . . The sense of. a norm, of a pervasive evenness, i s what one would expect of an e f fo r t to project a continuous f i e l d . The creation of a un i f ied oeuvre would be an achievement unique in the h is tory of these matters. How, one wonders, would an a r t i s t go about planning i t ? There i s no evidence to think that , in th is sense, Brancusi began with a p lan , nor is i t easy to imagine how a l i f e ' s work of the complexity of Brancusi 's could be conceived in advance. But we may imagine the.oeuvre slowly taking shape, at f i r s t without and then with the conscious d i rec t ion of the sculptor . To show that Brancusi was conscious, at least l a t e r , of the d i rec-t ion of his oeuvre, Geist quotes a statement made by the a r t i s t to Ezra 33 Pound: "Toutes mes sculptures datent de quinze ans." This study w i l l be devoted to prec ise ly these problems. I t w i l l demonstrate how Brancusi developed the oeuvre, and also indicate that much of i t may have been, as Brancusi 's quote i nd i ca tes , planned at one c ruc ia l period of i n s p i r a t i o n , from about 1908-1912. It w i l l also show how ear ly works necessitated the creat ion of l a te r conceptions and how 22 the units of the whole were establ ished through careful control of a l l the re lat ionships wi th in the ent i re oeuvre, so that no piece may be thought of separately and everything has i t s proper p lace. Having observed, as others had done, that Brancusi 's oeuvre represents a c lose ly reasoned, coherent sculptural system or "un iverse, " Geist advanced to an analysis of the categor ies, or s e r i e s , operating wi thin i t . That i s to say, he found what, in s t r uc tu ra l i s t terminology, are the metonyrtiical and metaphorical chains operating within the tota l language system. In a s im i l a r fash ion, Spear analyses the Bird ser ies 34 running from the Maistra to the Birds in Space. Both studies were done outside of a s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys is . Neither refers to the method-ology of l i n g u i s t i c s tudies. As sha l l be seen, however, Spear's work is fo r various reasons more successful and complete than G e i s t ' s . It i s Ge is t , however, who noted the important fact that the ser ies ex is t in re la t ionsh ip to one another. In the Guggenheim catalogue, Geist made several statements, which he la te r repeated in his major book on Brancusi on the existence and importance of the se r i es . Only rare ly is Brancusi content with a unique expression: he has favored themes which he pursues in se r i es . . . . The ser ies of the Birds makes i t s way from a s t y l i zed representation with myth-o log ica l reference to an ..image of sp i r i t ua l f l i g h t . Sleeping  Muse, a v i r tua l po r t r a i t , i n i t i a t e s a ser ies that moves from a representation of personal sleep to a v is ion of universal s leep: Beginning of the World. . . . Working in ser ies frees Brancusi from the demands of constant invent ion and gives his workj-a unity and cont inui ty not at a l l at odds with i t s d i ve rs i t y . Geist elaborates: 23 It has been evident for some time that the sculpture of Brancusi i s strung out in thematic s e r i e s , and that these themes are both formal and i con i c . I t i s a lso evident that these ser ies cross and recross and that cer ta in sculptures are then the nodes through which two or more themes pass.36 The l as t two statements are worth examining. Geist confirms that the basis of the ser ies is both formal and i con i c . His subsequent elaborat ion on the ser ies in the Abrams text i s , however, almost exc lu-s i ve ly based on formal or metaphoric s i m i l a r i t i e s . This formal b i as , a t t r ibu tab le to the period and t rad i t i on in which he i s w r i t i ng , has led him to overlook important thematic or metonymic re la t ionships between Brancusi 's pieces and to l ink others which are only marginally connected. Star t ing with some ch i ld ren 's heads and progressing through Sleeping Muse, Prometheus, Sculpture for the Bl ind and Cup, Brancusi made a number of ovo ida l , quas i - spher i ca l , and hemi-spherical sculptures . . .37 While these sculptures do form a category in cer ta in respects, l i nk ing the hemispherical (except for the handle) Cup to a ser ies of ovoidal heads seems dubious when aspects of the sculptures ' content are taken into account. For example, a para l le l s i tua t ion on a verbal level would involve l i nk ing the words poppy, peony, pansy and puppy because they a l l begin with p and end with y . They seem to const i tute a ser ies when only the form of the s i g n i f i e r s i s compared. Yet when what they s ign i fy i s examined i t i s evident that puppy is the odd man out. So with the Cup. Formal s i m i l a r i t i e s also caused Geist to j o in the Maiast ra, Chimera, Arch i tectura l Pro jec t , Exotic P lan t , Adam and Eve, Por t ra i t of Mrs. Eugene Meyer, J r . , and Boundary Marker in a s e r i e s ; they a l l involve 38 "the superimposition of a number of ob jec ts . " The l ink i s en t i c i ng , 24 but again does not take into account the d ispar i ty in the i r themes, or what they s ign i f y . This omission, in tu rn , has led Geist to see the various ser ies as 39 crossing and re-crossing randomly. Many of the categories Geist has proposed l i ke those above are l inked only by formal s i m i l a r i t i e s and disrupted by unaccounted dif ferences in the i r other aspects. This i s not in harmony with his e a r l i e r assert ion of internal order, c l a r i t y and coherence, but speaks rather of confusion. It seems that a s t r i c t l y formal methodology i s then inadequate to explain the ser ies in Brancusi 's work. Nonetheless, the recognit ion that rat ional categories do ex is t was a major cont r ibu t ion , and i n i t i a t e d the process of estab l ish ing an order where none had been seen before. A s t r u c t u r a l i s t ana l ys i s , based on an analysis of both form and content in order to es tab l ish the related works in each s e r i e s , shows that Ge is t ' s o r ig ina l i n t u i t i ve impression of coherency and ra t i ona l i t y i s more correct than he would r e a l i z e , as i s his observation that cer ta in sculptures serve as the nodes through which various ser ies pass, and that the ser ies are coherently re la ted . Indeed, as has been pointed out, the categor izat ion of Brancusi 's work as units which occur in ser ies or semantic chains that are coher-ent ly related to each other and in which information i s c o d i f i e d , i s fundamental to a s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys is . The placement of these related units has always been problematic in Lev i -St rauss 1 work. To ensure that the process i s carr ied out here in as object ive a manner as poss ib le , two c r i t e r i a must be met. As c lose ly as poss ib le , those ser ies 25 establ ished by Ge is t , Spear and others which l ink formal and thematic p r inc ip les w i l l be employed. For example, David Lewis has pointed out the formation of a thematic and formal ser ies running from the Muse to Prometheus to the Newborn to the Sculpture for the Bl ind which Geist has 40 also confirmed. Spear's care fu l l y documented ser ies of Birds w i l l be followed p rec i se l y ; i t works because of her scholar ly explorat ion of various leve ls of s i g n i f i c a t i o n , inc luding mythological , formal and biographical content. Thus Leda and the Penguins, although b i rd or b i r d - l i k e , w i l l be placed in another category and grouped with the sculpture of animal subjects. Both Spear and Geist have recognized th is l a t t e r ser ies as ex is t ing separately. As a fur ther safeguard against excesses of subject ive in te rp re ta t ion , chronological sequence w i l l be used throughout. The presence in Brancusi 's oeuvre of the fundamental elements used in a s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis indicate that a s t r uc tu ra l i s t method-ology would be useful in c l a r i f y i n g i t in terms of the semantic re la t ions between the indiv idual works, the ser ies and the system as a whole. This i s not, however, su f f i c i en t to j u s t i f y the appl icat ion of Lev i -St rauss ' concepts to the sculpture or the scu lp tor . Le"vi-Strauss' methodology appl ied largely to the analysis of "p r im i t i ve" thought and i t s s t ruc tures , not those of modern man. Brancusi can be seen, however, to have much in common with the former. His ear ly background was spent in what Wil l iam Tucker has described as " . . . one of the most remote 41 and backward corners of Europe." This area was not jus t p r o v i n c i a l , i t was pr im i t i ve . Here, Brancusi would be immersed in fo l k lo re and 26 fo lk ways from his e a r l i e s t years to late adolescence. It is often stated that one of the primary dif ferences between fo lk cul ture and modern society is based on the l a t t e r ' s a b i l i t y to wri te and record i t s h i s to ry—i ts l i t e ra teness . Brancusi , according to Tucker, "could nei ther read nor wri te unt i l he entered the School of Arts and Crafts at Craiova 42 in 1895," when he was eighteen. Brancusi was not subject to the primary education which d i f fe rent ia tes modern man from "pr im i t i ve" man. It would seem then, that Brancusi would have ample time for developing "p r im i t i ve" thought patterns. Indeed, i t would be surpr is ing i f he had not. In f a c t , i t i s Brancusi 's pr imi t ive peasant background to which a l l wr i ters refer when explaining his unique contr ibut ion to sculpture. Unfortunately, th is aspect of Brancusi 's l i f e has been romanticized by such people as Peter Neagoe in his biographical novel , The Saint of 43 Montparnasse. Brancusi himself nos ta lg i ca l l y al tered many of the deta i l s of his peasant "p r im i t i ve" background. Nonetheless, "p r im i t i ve " , in Lev i -St rauss ' sense of the work, i s the f i r s t character izat ion of 43 Brancusi 's thought. The emphasis on the i n te l l ec tua l i s not out of p lace, since the reconc i l i a t ion of idea and material expression has long been noted as fundamental to an understanding of Brancusi 1 s work, some-thing he himself frequently underl ined. It w i l l be shown that th is observation i s in fact cor rec t , and that Brancusi 's works are not only beaut i ful to observe but a l so , to c i t e Lev i -St rauss, "bonne a" penser." Assuming that Lev i -St rauss ' theories on the nature of "pr imi t ive" thought are v a l i d , and that the observations of Ge is t , J ianou, Spear e t . a l . on the internal coherence of Brancusi 's system have a basis in 27 f a c t , then an appl icat ion of s t r uc tu ra l i s t p r inc ip les is not only jus t -i f i e d but ob l igatory. It has, in f a c t , already occurred, a lbe i t in a fragmentary and i nsu f f i c i en t fashion. Jack Burnham's seminal work, The Structure of A r t , and his b r i e f analysis of some of the dualisms in Brancusi 's Leda have already been mentioned and c r i t i c i z e d . ^ But aside from his use of only one work, i t appears in retrospect that another of Burnham's basic premises may have been in er ror . Burnham's work, l i ke the present study, included the "Structural 45 Anthropology of Claude Le"vi-Strauss and semiological ana l ys i s . " But, on c loser examination, i t appears that Burnham has d is tor ted i f not completely v io lated one of Lev i -St rauss ' fundamental p r i nc ip l es . Burnham's study "assumes that the h i s t o r i c a l notion of art i s based on a mythic structure (consequently log ica l within the confines of the s t ruc tu re ) , and that ar t functions as an evolving sign system with the 46 same f l e x i b i l i t y in the usage of signs enjoyed by any language." Although the l a t t e r part of the proposit ion i s cor rec t , the f i r s t assumption which equates the h i s t o r i ca l notion of art with a mythic structure has no basis in Ldv i -St rauss 1 theor ies. Levi-Strauss has continuously asserted that mythic systems are exclusive to so-ca l led "pr imi t i ve" thinkers and soc ie t i es . Furthermore, in Le"vi-Strauss' view, 47 h istory and pr imi t ive mythic systems are a n t i t h e t i c a l . The presence of e i ther d ist inguishes between "pr imi t ive" and modern " s c i e n t i f i c " thought, although he admits that at t imes, and under cer ta in exceptional 48 condi t ions, the two may overlap. Yet Burnham del iberate ly blurs the 28 d i s t i nc t i on between what he sees as the contemporary "mythologies" of modern man, such as e i ther art or ar t h i s to ry , and the mythic structures of pr imi t ive th inkers. For example, he opens his discussion on Levi-Strauss with the statement: "Central to Claude Lev i -St rauss 1 concept of Structural Anthropology i s his premise that unconscious mental processes remain f ixed for a l l cu l tu re , ' p r im i t i ve ' and 49 l i t e r a t e a l i k e . " This does violence to L£vi-Strauss' ideas, which separate pr imi t ive and l i t e r a t e th inkers. Burnham, in f ac t , openly disputes "L^v i -S t rauss ' propensity for conceptually separating science and myth" and postulates that " . . . science i s more probably a 50 sophist icated mythic form." The premise that science i s myth, foreign to Lev i -St rauss, leaves Burnham open to claim that art h istory i s also a mythological s t ructure. In fac t , nei ther s c i e n t i f i c thought nor art h is tory are , nor function l i k e , mythologies. Burnham i s , in f a c t , aware of t h i s . In his chapter on "Art History as a Mythic Form" he s ta tes : For Levi-Strauss at l eas t , i t i s questionable that a diachronic [ i . e . , modern] cul ture can sustain myth, since the longevity of myths depends upon soc ia l structures where events are repet i t i ve and unchanging, thus psych ica l ly and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y the same. History-or iented soc ie t ies appear to lack the foundation for a stable mythic structure."51 Yet Burnham again d is to r ts Le"vi-Strauss' view by adding "However LSvi-Strauss is quite aware that myths do ex is t in l i t e r a t e s o c i e t i e s , and suggests that we have jus t begun to detect the mechanisms by which 52 they operate." The l a t t e r part of th is statement i s , however, unfounded. Indeed, in a la te r study, in which he abandoned almost a l l of Lev i -St rauss ' methodologies, Burnham confirmed the incompat ib i l i ty 29 of the i r respective approaches: "Diverging somewhat from Lev i -St rauss ' theory, I have e a r l i e r suggested in The Structure of Art that the balance between the diachronic and the synchronic i s the key to a l l 53 conceptions of a r t . " It would seem, however, that one must take the whole theory or leave i t alone. Yet despite the fact that ar t h i s to ry , being i rrevocably d iachronic , i s not subject to Lev i -St rauss ' s t r uc tu ra l i s t theor ies , that which i t examines may be. As Levi-Strauss s ta tes : . . . there are s t i l l zones in which savage thought, l i k e savage spec ies, is r e l a t i ve l y protected. This i s the' case of a r t , to which our c i v i l i z a t i o n accords the status of a national park, with a l l the advantages and inconveniences attending so a r t i f i c i a l a formula; and i t i s pa r t i cu la r l y the case of so many as yet "uncleared" sectors of soc ia l l i f e , where, through indi f ference or i n a b i l i t y , and most often without our knowing why, pr imi t ive thought continues to f lour ish .54 Br.ancusi was in fac t one such th inker. I t remains the premise of th is study that Brancusi 's stone oeuvre, a f te r 1908, was both a new personal sculptural language, and a personal 'mythological ' system. Consequently, Lev i -St rauss ' paradigm is the only methodology which w i l l bring the underlying structure of th is system to l i g h t . 30 Footnotes: Chapter I 1. Ge is t , 1968; and Sidney Ge is t , Brancusi : The Sculpture and Draw- ings (New York: Abrams, 1975). (Hereafter c i ted as Ge is t , 1975.) 2. S t r i c t l y speaking, Geist i s not a " fo rma l i s t , " as the term is understood today. His recent study of the K i s s , Sidney Ge is t , Brancusi/The Kiss (New York: Harper and Row 1978), (hereafter c i ted as Ge is t , 1978), for example, indicates that he f inds much of value beyond the forms of the work, including i t s ideological and semantic content. This study i s , however, .a radical departure from much of his e a r l i e r work. 3. Lev i -S t rauss , c i ted in George Charbonnier, Entretiens avec  Levi-Strauss (Par i s : Rene J u l l i a r d et L ib ra r ie PI on, 1961), p. 184. 4. I b i d . , p. 133. 5. I b i d . , p. 108. 6. C f . , Rosalind Krauss, "Nightwalkers," in Art Journa l , Spr ing, 1981, p. 35. 7. Lev i -S t rauss , c i ted in op. c i t . p. 131. 7a. For a fur ther discussion see M i r e i l l e Marc-Li piansky, Le structural isme de Levi-Strauss (Par is : Payot, 1973), pp. 287-288. 7b. Ib id. , p. 295. 8. Brancusi , c i ted in Isamu Noguchi, A Scu lp tor 's World (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), p. 18. 8a. Brancusi , c i ted in Ge is t , 1968, p. 143. 8b. Brancusi , c i ted in i b i d . , p. 146. 8c. These two areas correspond to the d i v i s ion between Sens and S i g n i f i c a t i o n . As Shalvey exp la ins , "Sens i s an internal sense . . .. and i s ident ica l to the function of the word within the language. Language i s viewed as a system defined by internal d i f fe rences, not by re la t ions to external objects. Here i t i s the combination of the elements wi thin the system that i s the bearer of the internal meaning. S ign i f i ca t i on leads out of the system, to the mind of the hearer or the speaker." Thomas Shalvey, Claude Levi-Strauss Social Psychotherapy and the  Co l lec t i ve Unconscious (Amherst: Univers i ty of Massachusetts Press, 1979), Note 7, p. 142. 31 9. L£vi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), p. 12. 10. Lev i -S t rauss , Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), p.- 39. 11. I b i d . , p. 390. See also George Ste iner , Language and Si lence (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1969), p. 257. 12. S te iner , p. 251. 12a. "In Brancusi the paucity of elements, the i r c l a r i t y and the c l a r i t y of the i r a r t i c u l a t i o n , the i r repet i t ion (when i t occurs) , and the i r di f ferences create a t igh t system and a to ta l image which inscr ibe themselves on the memory. The mnemonic i s car r ied to an absolute point since i t i s possible to see a l l and remember a l l with a minimal expenditure of e f f o r t ; memory i s f ixed by the ravishing surface and sustained by a para l le l memory of the wor ld . " Ge is t , 1968, p. 174. 13. S te iner , p. 252. 14. Robert Scholes, Structural ism in L i terature (New Haven: Yale Universi ty Press, 1974), pp. 67-69. ~ 15. Ionel J ianou, Brancusi (New York: Tudor, 1963), pp. 14-15, and passim. 16. David Lewis, Constantin Brancusi (London: T i r a n t i , 1957), p. 3. 17. I b i d . , p. 12. 18. Ge is t , 1968, p. 37. 19. Ge is t , 1978, p. 76. 20. Sidney Ge is t , "The Cent ra l i ty of the Gate," Artforum, October, 1973, p. 27. Many other dua l i t i es of a sexual nature have been observed in Brancusi 's work. The scandal surrounding the exhib-i t i o n of Princess X at the Salon des Independants in 1920 i s one example of i t s publ ic recogni t ion. See a l s o , Rosalind Krauss, Passages in Modern Sculpture (New York: Viking Press, 1977), p. 100, and Albert Boime, "Brancusi in New York, 0b Ovo Ad Inf in i tum," Burl ington Magazine, March, 1970, pp. 332-336. 32 21. Ge is t , "Cen t ra l i t y , " p. 77. 22. Boime, p. 334. 23. Ge is t , 1968, p. 172. 24. I b i d . , p. 181.-25. Lewis, pp. 8-9. 26. I b i d . , p. 20. 27. J ianou, p. 62. 28. Ge is t , 1968, p. i i i . 29. I b i d . , p. 141. 30. Ge is t , 1968, p. 168. 31. Sidney Ge is t , Constantin Brancusi 1876-1957, a retrospect ive  exhibit i.on (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim, 1969), p. 11. (Hereafter c i ted as Ge is t , 1969) 32. I b i d . , p. 23. 33. Brancusi , as said to Ezra Pound, c i ted in Ge is t , 1975, p. 29. 34. Athena Spear, Brancusi 's Birds (New York: College Art Associat ion of America, 1969).. 35. Ge is t , 1969, p. 15. 36. I b i d . , p. 23. 37. Ge is t , 1975, p. 25. 38. I b i d . , p. 26. "An important ser ies—so smal l , so diverse in subject , so spread out in time as not to appear to be a s e r i e s -is one comprised of the Sorceress (1916) [wood], Torso of a  Young Man, the Turt le in wood and the Turt le in marble (1945). . . these works are concerned with formal complexity." Ge is t , 1969, p. 22. See also pp. 20-24 fo r other ser ies that Geist proposes. 39. Ge is t , 1975, p. 28. 33 40. Lewis, p. 17. 41. Wil l iam Tucker, Early Modern Sculpture (New York: Oxford Univers i ty Press, 1974), p. 41. See also Boime. 42. Ib id . For a discussion of the importance of wr i t ing in the d i f fe ren t ia t i on of modern and "pr imi t i ve" thought, see Charbonnier, pp. 28-30. See a l so : "The way of thinking among people we c a l l , usual ly wrongly, ' p r i m i t i v e ' — l e t ' s describe them rather 'without w r i t i n g , ' because I think th is i s rea l l y the d iscr iminat ing fac to r . " L^v i -St rauss, Myth and Meaning (Toronto: Univers i ty of Toronto Press, 1978), p. 15. 43. Peter Neagoe, The Saint of Montparnasse (Phi lade lph ia : Chi l ton Books, 1965). 44. Jack Burnham, p. 3. 45. . I b i d . , pp. 92-93. 46. I b i d . , p. 3. 47. " . . . je ne veux pas dire qu'absolument, les socie'te's pr imi t ives n'ont pas de passe\ mais que les membres de ces socie'te's n'eprouvement pas le besoin d'ihvoquer la cate"gorie de l ' h i s t o i r e ; pour eux, e l l e est vide de dens puisque, dans la mesure ou quelque chose n'a pas toujours e x i s t s , ce quelque chose est i l l eg i t ime S leurs yeux, tandis que pour nous, c 'es t le con t ra i re . " L£vi-Strauss in Charbonnier, pp. 61-62. 48. Claude Ldv i -St rauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: Universi ty of Chicago Press, 1966), pp. 1-33. 49. Op. c i t . , p. 8. 50. I b i d . , p. 11. 51. I b i d . , p. 39. 52. Ib id . 53. Jack Burnham, Great Western Sa l t Works: Essays on the meaning of  post- formal is t ar t (New York: G. B r a z i l l e r , 1974), p. 149. 54. Lev i -St rauss, The Savage Mind, p. 219. 34 CHAPTER II Brancusi arr ived in Paris in 1904, having t r ave l l ed , often by foo t , from his native Romania. Geist postulates that "af ter an academic t r a i n -ing based on the antique and a t rad i t i on of fa i th fu lness to nature, he went to Paris to improve himself and to enlarge his v i s i o n . He expected, one may imagine, to see and learn from the sculpture of R o d i n . I n P a r i s , he continued his academic t ra in ing in sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Ar t s . For the next three years , he worked largely in c l ay , develop-ing an almost f a c i l e a b i l i t y for rapid r e a l i s t i c modell ing. About 1907, however, his work began to change d i rec t i on . Attempting to break with t r a d i t i o n , and i t appears, with Rodin, Brancusi produced the Prayer. The emphasis on the process of model l ing, on the qual i ty of materials and on s imp l i f i ed forms marked a turning point in his a r t i s t i c develop-ment. It must, however, be regarded in retrospect as a t rans i t iona l 2 p iece, as Brancusi was short ly thereafter to abandon clay al together. I t was also in 1907 that Brancusi began to carve d i r ec t l y in to the stone block, la t a i l l e d i rec te . "This technique, unused by Rodin, would assure his l i be ra t ion from the Master, and permit him to work in a new set of 3 terms." Between 1907 and 1909, Brancusi produced several works, many 4 l o s t , some dead ends, and some only tentat ive explorat ions. One work, however, stands out as embodying a dramatic new discovery. It marks the point of o r ig in of Brancusi 's personal sculptural language, his s e l f -35 conscious departure from the academic and his alignment with the avant garde. In late- 1907 and ear ly 1908 Brancusi conceived and carved the K iss . In both conception and execut ion, th is work marked a radical departure from his previous production. Brancusi has at various times confirmed the seminal posi t ion of the K iss . "E l 1e avai t e te , d i s a i t - i l , son chemin 5 de Damas. Pour la premi&re f o i s , i l y a exprime* son e s s e n t i e l . " The K i s s , in f a c t , forms the cornerstone of Brancusi 's oeuvre. A l l of his subsequent stone carvings can be demonstrated to be systemat ical ly and ra t i ona l l y related to the ideas expressed in th is work. In 1938 Brancusi himself gave an ind icat ion of the central role of the Kiss and of the remarkable conceptual cont inui ty in his work. " F i r s t came th is group of two in te r laced , seated f igures in stone . . . then the symbol of the egg, then the thought grew into th is gateway to a beyond." The Kiss is regarded by most art h is tor ians as a milestone both in Brancusi 's development, and in the course of modernist sculpture in general . Its importance in rad i ca l l y a l te r ing contemporary sculptural precepts and s e n s i b i l i t i e s has caused a great deal of at tent ion to be focused on i t . Geist has, in f ac t , chosen i t from the oeuvre as a whole as the subject of a separate study. His opening comments summarize the posi t ion of the work, both in terms of Brancusi 's career and in terms of i t s broader role in the evolut ion of modern sculpture. With the carving of The K i ss , Brancusi , by a supreme e f for t of w i l l , i n t e l l i gence , and imaginat ion, leaps out of his past. Nothing, or very l i t t l e , in his e a r l i e r work prepares us for i t , for i t s special poetry, i t s unobtrusive, densely packed invent ion. Placed against everything that precedes i t , The Kiss gives the impression of issuing from a new hand; one wr i ter has said that i t "seemed to ar r ive 'from nowhere'." And ef for ts to account for i t , to 36 s i tuate i t in time and within Brancusi 's developing a r t , have been few enough in sp i te of the fact that i t i s the cornerstone of a great modern oeuvre.7 By f i l l i n g in th is gap, Geist supplies valuable information con-cerning the h i s t o r i c and personal s ign i f icance of both the form and content of the sculpture. He begins his invest igat ion by giv ing several possible sources which may have been avai lab le to Brancusi in Paris and which may have served as i nsp i r a t i on , model, reference, or precedent for the K iss . These sources indicate that Brancusi was consciously moving away from Rodin and into alignment with the avant garde, pa r t i cu la r l y the paint ing avant garde which was, at that t ime, fascinated by pr imi t ive a r t . Apart from the currency of the Kiss [theme] in contemporary a r t , the factors that seem most d i rec t l y to have contr ibuted-to the creat ion of Brancusi 's The Kiss are three: the exh ib i t ion of Derain's Crouching Figure at Kahnwei ler 's; the display of Mat isse 's pa in t ings, notably Music (Study), at the Salon d'Automne; and meetings between Charles Morice and Brancusi in the f a l l of 1907. Behind a l l of them stands the Gauguin Retrospective of 1906. 8 Geist traces the image,and postures of the joined f igures in the Kiss to Mat isse 's pa in t ing , which Brancusi would have seen in 1907. He presents Gaugulin'.s symbolist sculpture and Derain's fauv is t f igure as precedents for Brancusi 's adoption of d i rec t carving and for his concern fo r the inherent qua l i t i es of the worked mater ia ls . But the common l ink between Gauguin,, Mat isse, Derain, the Fauves in general , and other a r t i s t s of the avant garde l i ke Picasso at th is time was the i r in terest in pr imi t iv ism of a l l types. Indeed, the Gauguin retrospect ive was highly i n f l uen t i a l and provided the cata lys t for a p r i m i t i v i s t fantasy which was 37 widely adopted. Since th is homogeneous sympathy for pr imi t ive ar t in 1906/07 provides several clues fo r Brancusi 's move toward the avant garde, i t deserves further discussion. . It i s however, important to note that the avant garde's concept of the pr imi t ive was ethnocentr ic. Picasso pro-vides a case in po in t , since his ear ly sculpture was also influenced by the Gauguin retrospect ive and, l i k e Brancusi , he moved from a period inf luenced by Rodin (and Symbolism) to an in terest in pr imi t ive a r t . Johnson, in The Early Sculpture of P icasso, explains that he was drawing on popular notions of pr imi t ive culture as Manifestations of concepts such as the exo t i c , the mysterious, and the earth ly paradise [as] soc ie t ies unspoi l t by the " e v i l s " of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . Picasso supplemented these with Gauguin's w r i t i ngs , pa in t ings, and sculptures [which pr imar i ly determined] the concept of what was pr imi t ive in a r t i s t i c terms.^ a Johnson comments on the ethnocentric bias in th is view: The best we can do without cu l tu ra l understanding is to project our own pre jud ic ia l views of pr imi t ive peoples as simple, mysterious savages on to the i r creat ions. ,Picasso understandably went through the same kind of process and the resu l t was necessar i ly a projec-t ion of the qua l i t i es he sought on pr imi t ive ar t onto the pieces he created, whether or not they were in fac t intended qua l i t i es of the pr imi t ive carver.8b As part of th is expression, which re f lec ted general trends found also in Derain's f i gu re , Picasso created between 1907 and 1908 several remarkable, but l i t t l e known works, notably two Puppets, a totemic Standing Man and a Standing Woman. These share with the Kiss the tech-nique of d i rec t carv ing, which was seen as a cha rac te r i s t i c of pr imi t ive a r t . P icasso 's works also adhere to the pre-establ ished geometic form 38 of the block at the expense of anatomy, although they are cy l i nd r i ca l rather than cub ic , and in wood rather than stone. It must be assumed that th is too was seen as pr imi t i ve . On the other hand, i t has been pointed out that Picasso did not comprehend the s i gn i f i can t cu l tura l qua l i t i es of pr imi t ive a r t , but was responding largely to i t s perceived forms and techniques. His work was, then, as Johnson points out, ' p r i m i t i v i s t i c ' rather than ' p r i m i t i v e ' . Nonetheless, Brancusi seems to have responded d i rec t l y to th is cl imate establ ished by the works of Gauguin, Picasso and the Fauves. It would seem, in f ac t , that he found th is concern for the pr imi t ive which saturated the avant garde in 1906/1907 s u f f i c i e n t l y a t t rac t i ve that he abandoned his promising, and no doubt po ten t ia l l y l uc ra t i ve , career as an academic a r t i s t , working in a r e a l i s t ve in . Instead, he al tered his course and forged a new a r t i s t i c a l l i ance with a movement that he now found sympathetic to his own background. Although th is does not t o t a l l y explain his remarkable change in d i r ec t i on , i t does go far in ind icat ing the condit ions under which i t occurred and the forces to which he was responding.throughout his career. I t w i l l be demonstrated herein that Brancusi 's pr imi t iv ism goes well beyond the borrowing of forms and techniques from pr imi t ive cu l tures. Unlike P icasso, Brancusi 's pr imi t ive qua l i t i es were part of his very thought processes. Geist sees a further possible inf luence for the Kiss in Charles Morice, the symbolist theoret ic ian who also wrote on the Gauguin r e t r o -spect ive. Morice's inf luence was, however, more in a conceptual than a formal sense. Brancusi , i t seems, could have met Morice at the salon of O t i l i a Cosmutza, which both frequented. Comparing the ideas present in the Kiss with symbolist p r i n c i p l e s , Geist observes "Some s t r i k i ng pa ra l l e l s in the thought of Morice and Brancusi . . . " . ^ Geist comments on a sect ion of a symbolist text by the former that he feels may have inf luenced Brancusi: " . . . with i t s v is ion of s imp l i c i t y and un i ty , i t s emphasis on the eternal and e s s e n t i a l , freed from contingency, i t could serve as a program for the Kiss and the oeuvre that would fo l low. . . . n 1 1 Geist also provides another possible insp i ra t ion for the K i ss : the Chapiteau des Ba isers , sculpted by E. Derre" in 1899, a version of 12 which was erected in the Luxembourg Gardens in 1906. Derr£'s work .bears a formal and thematic re la t ionship to both Brancusi 's Kiss and the columns for the Gate,, in which the Kiss motif was la te r abstracted and ref ined. In addi t ion Geist points out that an important a f f i n i t y of a p o l i t i c a l nature also existed between the two scu lp tors . The Gazette des Beaux Arts favored i t [DeVre's work] with a repro-duction . . . which described i t as an "oeuvre . . . r ivee pour une Maison du Peuple et ou d ' a i l l e u r s la f igure aime"e de 1 'e'vange'lique anarchiste (Louise Michel) [ s i c ] joue avec c e l l e de Blanqui un r61e essent ie l . . . " Derre"'s p o l i t i c a l sympathies would have made him a t t rac t i ve to Brancusi who, in th is per iod, himself had strong s o c i a l i s t leanings J 3 The undercurrent of act ive soc ia l protest embodied in Brancusi 's "strong s o c i a l i s t leanings" and in Derre*'s model i s in harmony with the symbolist antecedents of the Kiss as perceived by Ge is t . Robbins has pointed out in his discussion of the a r t i s t s who formed the commune at the Abbaye of Grete i l between 1906 and 1908 that 40 Many of the most i n f l u e n t i a l wr i ters and a r t i s t s of the symbolist generation supported the most radical soc ia l philosophy of the i r epoch with the resu l t that . . . there was a strong i den t i f i ca t i on between the symbolist a r t i s t s and l i t e r a t i on the one hand and the S o c i a l i s t and Anarchist i n te l l ec tua l s on the o t h e r J 4 In Robbins' ana lys i s , however, th is associat ion caused the a r t i s t s par t i cu la r problem. Despite—or perhaps because of—the iden t i t y between a r t i s t and soc ia l reformer, the Symbolist a r t i s t was confronted with a s i gn i f -icant problem: the d i f f i c u l t y of adapting his a r t i s t i c vocabulary to his new ro le . . . . By and la rge , these forms were remote from r e a l i t y and the a r t i s t s of the l as t f i f t een years of the century knew i t . . . . They were unable to forge the necessary new ident i ty between the means of the i r ar t and the function they conceived for i t in modern indus t r ia l society.15 As Robbins points out, the a r t i s t s at the Abbaye "proposed to solve the same problem (namely, how to create a t ru ly modern ar t based on the condit ions of modern l i f e ) , but they were determined not to escape into aesthet ic ism, nor to re ly on symbolism and a l l e g o r y . " ^ Brancusi showed his sympathy with the a r t i s t s of the Abbaye by exh ib i t ing work there when the commune was having f inanc ia l d i f f i c u l t i e s . In sharing the i r i dea l s , however, he also shared the i r problems, but with an added complexity. Brancusi 's mythological system, by i t s very nature, aspired to the timeless rather than the contemporary, despite the fact that i t was expressed in a modernist idiom, and in forms appropriate to his age. This tension between a commitment to a p l as t i c expression of h i s t o r i ca l evo lu t ion , both soc ia l and a r t i s t i c , and timelessness w i l l become, in the f i na l ana lys i s , one of the most pert-inent aspects of his work and his developing mythology. Indeed, i t w i l l be demonstrated that Brancusi 's mythology forced him to move out of 41 alignment with his ear ly p o l i t i c a l ideals and into s p i r i t u a l i t y , and the e te rna l . Geist also of fers an in terpretat ion of the possible personal s i gn i f -icance of the K iss . Drawing upon the juxtaposi t ion of two small studies (neither the Kiss) present in an ear ly photograph of Brancusi 's s tud io , he postulates a biographical episode involv ing love refused and then consummated as i t s primary i nsp i ra t i on . The basis for such a theory, however, is weak and as corroborating evidence is not provided, i t can only be viewed as speculat ive. Af ter dealing with the various possible sources for the K i s s , Geist continues his study with a deta i led formal invest igat ion of the subsequent var iat ions which Brancusi produced throughout his career. Although de ta i l s of the work al tered in d i f ferent vers ions, Brancusi remained f a i t h fu l to his o r ig ina l conception. " . . . The Kiss remains constant in i t s humble matiere, i t s s t a b i l i t y , and i t s recognizable imagery, undergoing only s l i gh t change in proport ion, in s ty le and the sentiment these r e l e a s e . " ^ This remarkable consistency in conception between the 1907 version and i t s counterpart from 1945 i s an important feature of Brancusi 's work. I t i nd ica tes , above a l l , that Brancusi remained t rue , throughout his career, to the ideas he f i r s t expressed when he entered the avant garde. The same cannot be s a i d , however, of other members of the avant garde. Picasso again provides a point of comparison. The para l le l paths of Brancusi 's • arid • P icasso 's ear ly work contrast with the i r l a te r developments. By 1908 Picasso was moving away from pr im i t i v i zed forms into experiments in geometric cubism, which even i f i n i t i a l l y inf luenced 42 by pr imi t ive a r t , soon moved beyond i t . Indeed, throughout the remainder of his career P icasso 's sculpture became an expression of a plethora of i n te res ts . Consequently, his work from 1945 has l i t t l e in common with his formative period of 1906/07, or of Brancusi 's work of any per iod. Unlike Picasso, Brancusi remained fa i t h fu l to his o r ig ina l insp i ra t ion throughout his career, from the f i r s t Kiss to the f i na l vers ion. Not i n s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the l a t t e r was the l as t stone work he created. The fact that th is conception brackets Brancusi 's work as a whole indicates i t s importance not only to the a r t i s t but also to the oeuvre. When subjected to a s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys i s , the Kiss in a l l i t s expressions can be seen to contain the fundamental proposit ions and problems explored throughout Brancusi 's subsequent work. As Geist and others have ten ta t i ve ly observed, these may be stated in a ser ies of binary opposit ions and categorizat ions of dua l i t i es observable in empir ical r e a l i t y , i . e . , concrete l o g i c , pr imi t ive or mythological thought. Indeed, in both conception and execut ion, the Kiss contains a complex system of opposing elements, which are , despite the i r d i v e r s i t y , in te r -related through a ser ies of mediating elements, pa ra l l e l s and transforma-t ions . The Kiss contains the basic proposit ions of what i s a phi losophic and mythic, as well as a scu lp tu ra l , system. The f i r s t opposit ion evident in Brancusi 's the Kiss appears in i t s d i r e c t , and no doubt del iberate reference to the famous work of the same t i t l e by Rodin. Geist has observed th is ant i thes is on more than one occasion. In 1978 he stated: "With The Kiss of 1907, on every score the ant i thes is of The Kiss of Rodin, he turns against the master of 43 I o Meudon." He re i terated th is in 1978 when he stated-: "The two works 19 . . . const i tute a paradigm of a r t i s t i c po l a r i t y . " The nature of th i s opposit ional paradigm i s important as i t gives an ins ight into Brancusi 's reaction to t ime, h istory and contemporary myths. It has been noted in the discussion of Burnham's work that h istory and mythological systems contain inimicable concepts of time. The f i r s t i s d iachronic , the l a t t e r synchronic. It has also been noted that Brancusi was operating wi thin an avant garde that was very conscious of i t s own h is tory . Yet , Brancusi created an image that is a negation of h is tory . As Geist stated in an e a r l i e r quote, the Kiss seems to spring from nowhere. I t appears, in f ac t , outside of time and h is tory . Both • pr imi t ive and modern, the Kiss does not fol low from Rodin's developments, or even from those of Rosso and Bourdel le, but i s rather a denial of that h is tory . I t compresses a l l the time from the o r ig in of sculpture to the 20 present. Brancusi referred to th is concept with the phrase "t ime's 21 reverse pendulum." This synchronic a t t i tude towards time in which h i s t o r i ca l progression is suppressed or inverted is one of the primary features of mythic or pr imi t ive thought, and as has been s ta ted , 21 separates i t from modern, s c i e n t i f i c and h i s t o r i c a l l y oriented thought. I t seems then, for tu i tous that Brancusi was able to enter the avant garde in Par is at a time when the i r at tent ion was focused on pr imi t ive a r t . He could thus a l ign himself with the avant garde in i t s conscious h i s t o r i ca l progression, and at the same time, deny t h i s . The f u l l impl icat ions of Brancusi 's synchronic system and i t s re la t ion to the avant garde can, however, only be analysed af ter the ent i re oeuvre has 44 been examined. Some suggestion of Brancusi 's response to Rodin and to the history of sculpture can be suggested at th is po int , however, by re fer r ing to Lev i -S t rauss , who points out in The Savage Mind: "The charac te r i s t i c feature of mythological thought . . . i s that i t sets up structured sets . . . by using the remains and debris of events: . . . (the) • 21b f o s s i l i z e d evidence of the h is tory of an ind iv idual or soc ie ty . " Direct references to Rodin did not immediately disappear from Brancusi 's stone sculpture fol lowing the K i s s , but remained present in a decl in ing scale un t i l about 1914. In each case, however, these references take on a very spec i f i c meaning and are, l i ke those in the K i s s , undoubtedly de l ibera te , although the l a te r ones have not been noted by past observers. Like the h i s t o r i c a l reference to Rodin, the form and content of the Kiss are also composed of a ser ies of mythic opposi t ions. The f i r s t of these concerns the opposit ion of the sexes, which, as has been s ta ted, i s a common concern of mythological systems. Through a b r i l l i a n t formal and technical conception, Brancusi has been able to present the dual-i t i e s of male and female in both conjunction and d is junc t ion , as both 2 2 d i s t i n c t and un i f i ed . The Kiss both states the opposit ion and forms the resolut ion of i t in terms of a mediation: the work i t s e l f contains both joined in generative sexual a c t i v i t y . Brancusi has stated th is by i l i i t t l e ' more than i nc i s i ng two embracing f igures into a rectangular stone block. The pa i r of lovers are joined in te rna l l y at the eye and mouth, and through the i r overlapping arms. Furthermore, a l l anatomical dif ferences except for a s l i gh t de f i n i t i on of the female breast, have 45 been suppressed. The two f igures are divided only by a s ingle inc ised 23 c l e f t running through them, a l i ne which both divides and un i f i es . The sexes are thus presented as both d i f fe rent ia ted and non-d i f ferent ia ted, or continuous. By t o t a l l y re ject ing the sculptural approaches of both Rodin and his own thorough academic t r a i n i ng , and adopting that of the avant garde as expressed by Picasso, Derain and Gauguini, Brancusi rea l ized his conception and stated simultaneously both the problem of and so lut ion to the opposition of the sexes. Technical process thereby complemented conception, a mastery and balance which he retained 24 throughout his career. The dua l i s t i c conceptions incorporated in the image and execution of the Kiss are not exc lus ive ly sexual . The respect which Brancusi has shown fo r the inherent form of the quarried block of stone has been in te r -25 preted as "a close communion with the nature of his mater ia ls . " The idea of nature, although here in the sense of a l l that is not cu l tu re , 26 i s very important in Le*vi-Strauss' theories. Burnham was correct in point ing out that the primary dual i ty of pr imi t ive mythological systems i s that of the opposit ion between cul ture and nature. In the K i s s , nature, which i s non-d i f ferent ia ted, can be seen as expressed in the non-defined raw material—the stone block before i t was carved. Culture i s expressed in the image imposed on the stone which gives i t d e f i n i t i o n . The image transforms what was nature, i . e . , non-di f ferent iated rock, into cu l tu re , i . e . , mythic ar t object. The balance and resolut ion of these oppositions is again contained in the combination of materials and carv ing, as was that of the sexes. Both opposit ions have been solved 46 by a transformation, and both are part of the "densely packed invent ion" of the K iss . These oppositions are, moreover, re la ted. Both involve the con-cept of c reat ion , in the f i r s t instance sexual c rea t ion , in the l a t t e r , a r t i s t i c . In the f i r s t a new l i f e i s created, in the other, a new work of a r t . One involves the jo in ing of man and woman, the other, the union of the a r t i s t and his mater ia ls . In e i ther instance, the dualism of nature and cul ture is evoked. What de Caso and Sanders state about Rodin's work holds true for Brancus i ' s . The. nudes in Rodin's work "became a symbol of untarnished, primal nature; the act of k iss ing was a prelude to mankind's par t i c ipa t ion in the generative forces of the 26a universe." Two pa ra l l e l (yet fundamentally related) notions of creat ion thus occur in t h e ; K i s s . As w i l l be seen, Brancusi goes on in his l a te r work to separate these conceptions and explore them ind iv idu-a l l y , before resolv ing them through a mediating work. As the context of a second version of the Kiss i s added to that of the f i r s t , the coherent system of dua l i s t i c conceptions becomes more complex, but maintains i t s inherent r a t i o n a l i t y . A 1909 K i s s , s l i g h t l y d i f fe rent from the or ig ina l in that i t contains f u l l f igures rather than fragments, was chosen by 1910 as the grave marker for an acquaintance of Brancusi. Having committed su i c ide , due to an unhappy love a f f a i r , she, was buried in the annex to Montparnasse Cemetery. The use of the work as a headstone, although not part of i t s o r ig ina l conception, added to i t s s ign i f icance and seems to have influenced subsequent developments. As Le*vi-Strauss points out, posi t ion always plays an integral part in 47 27 the in terpretat ion of "p r imi t i ve" images. The use of the Kiss in th is manner was not a rb i t ra ry . Brancusi had not yet pub l ic ly exhibi ted i t and could eas i l y have refused, rather than concurred in th is choice. It must be assumed that he saw i t s use not as incongruous, but as complementary to his conception. As a tombstone, the Montparnasse Kiss is a sign of death and termination. The visual and contextual ambiguity created by using an image of l i f e and r eb i r t h , i . e . , continuation of l i f e , resolves another important and unpleasant opposit ion inherent in empir ical existance. On another, but related l e v e l , a f ter death the body decays and jo ins non-di f ferent iated nature; the K i s s , -as has been s ta ted , reverses th is process. The unpleasant r ea l i t y of death and i t s consequences thus seems to have been overcome through both sexual and 28 a r t i s t i c c reat ion. Thus, as the formal l ink between the Kiss and pr imi t ive sculpture i s obvious, the conceptual l ink between the former and the basic forms of "pr imi t ive" mythologies can again be understood by re fer r ing to L^v i -Strauss. He explains that pr imi t ive mythology commonly overcomes the question of immortality and morta l i ty by giving culture ( i . e . , art) 29 permanence whi le remaining pragmatic about ind iv idua ls . Indeed, i f we think of the image of the Kiss as mythn'c, the con-ceptual role o f the-sculpture becomes c learer . As Le'vi-Strauss points out in Structural Anthropology, "what gives . . . myth an operational value i s that the spec i f i c pattern described i s t imeless; i t explains 30 the present and the past as well as the fu tu re . " The purpose of a myth i s to provide a log ica l model capable of overcoming a cont rad ic t ion . 48 The Kiss i s such a model. It establ ishes a sequence of re lated opposites codi f ied in a s ing le but "densely packed" statement. The oppositions may best be stated graph ica l ly . non-dist inguished sexes male and female nature non-di f fe ren t i a t i on death and d isso lu t ion material matrix 1 f fe and = ar t object sexual*- creat ion -^ar t is t ic . different!" at ion cul ture These l inked pairs of opposi t ions, to be f u l l y appreciated as units of "mythic" or "pr imi t ive" thought, must not be seen as simple themes, but as integrated phi losophical proposit ions present in a l l aspects of the work—conception, execut ion, form and pos i t i on . They only become coherent when the work is examined as a t o t a l i t y . . Their presence indicates a highly i n te l l ec tua l mind, but one working within the frame-work of "p r imi t i ve" thought, in which problems and proposit ions are 49 stated in a ser ies of re lated equations, opposi t ions, and transformations between binary elements. A f i na l opposit ion observable in the Kiss may indicate another source for the phi losophical in f rast ructure of Brancusi 's sculptural system. Timeless.stone lovers are frozen in a marble block in the act of conceiving a new l i f e . This states the dualism of iner t material and act ive l i f e forces. Henri Bergson devoted some time to various aspects of the resolut ion of such concepts, inc luding that of e*lan v i t a l e and material existence. Creative Evolu t ion, in which he explored aspects of th is problem, was f i r s t published in 1907, the year before Brancusi 's Kiss was being completed. This book, as well as his study on Matiere et Memoire (1898) are , in f a c t , both present in Brancusi 's personal l i b ra ry and papers, now preserved in Par is in the archives of the Centre National d 'Ar t et de 31 Culture Georges Pompidou. Both books explore d u a l i s t i c concepts. The opening l ines of Bergson's introduct ion to the seventeenth ed i t ion of Matiere et Memoire s ta tes : "Ce l i v r e aff irme l a re"alite* de 1 'esp r i t , la re"alitg de la matiere, et essaie de determiner le rapport de 1'un S 1'autre sur un example p rec i s , ce lu i de l a memoire. II est done nettement '32 dua l i s te . " Many spec i f i c ideas found in these wr i t i ngs , such as the opposit ion between matter and s p i r i t and matter and e"lan v i t a l e are c lea r l y evident in the Kiss and Brancusi 's subsequent work. Despite the a f f i n i t y of ideas, the inf luence of Bergson's books on Brancusi 's formative period i s d i f f i c u l t to prove from avai lab le information. Each ed i t ion in his l i b ra ry was published in 1914. 50 Brancusi , in keeping with his i l l i t e r a t e .background, read l i t t l e . Many of the books in his l i b ra ry remain with pages uncut; Bergson's are no exception. MatiSre et Memoire has less than one hundred pages opened. Creative Evolution appears untouched. S t i l l , t he i r presence and the correspondence of ideas is s i gn i f i can t as a possible inf luence and source of ideas. I t remains possible that the works replaced e a r l i e r ones los t in a move or for other reasons, espec ia l l y as l i t t l e in the 33 archives co l lec t ion predates 1914. Brancusi also may, as a student, have attended Bergson's lectures at the College de France, which were 34 both highly popular and open to the pub l ic . Perhaps s i g n i f i c a n t l y , these lectures ceased in the year Brancusi 's edi t ions were published. Brancusi would cer ta in ly have encountered Bergson 1s widely d is t r ibu ted ideas in d iscuss ions, as Bergson was at the height of his popular i ty between 1900 and 1914. Indeed, many observers have pointed out his profound inf luence on avant garde sculpture and pa r t i cu la r l y 35 Brancusi during th is period. Referr ing to a quote from Bergson's Introduction to Metaphysics (1903), Geist s ta tes , "This language and whole essay so exact ly define the Brancusian area of expression that we are tempted to think that the sculptor found in them not only an 36 - insp i ra t ion but a kind of program." Albert El sen also states in th is ve in : "Henri Bergson may have been for Brancusi what Baudelaire was to Rodin. Brancusi 's art was responsive to the climate in P a r i s , inf luenced by Bergson, that saw l i f e as l i ved in the i r r a t i o n a l , expressed in v i t a l 37 urges, and which affirmed i n tu i t i on as a re l i ab le path to t ru th . " 51 Brancusi 's use of Bergson's ideas as a basis for developing his own sculptural language has special s ign i f i cance . Arnold Hauser has pointed out that: The French c r i t i c Jean Paul nan d i f fe rent ia tes between two d i s -t i nc t categories of w r i t e rs , according to the i r re la t ionship to language. He ca l l s the language-destroyers, that is to say, the romantics, symbolists and su r rea l i s t s who want to el iminate the commonplace, conventional forms and ready-made c l iches from language completely and who take refuge from the dangers of language in pure, v i r g i n a l , o r ig ina l i nsp i r a t i on , the " ter ror -i s t s . " They f ight against a l l consol idat ion and coagulation of the l i v i n g , f l u i d , intimate l i f e of the mind, against a l l exter-nal i za t ion and i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , in other words, against a l l ' c u l t u r e ' . Paulhan l inks them up with Bergson and establ ishes the inf luence of in tu i t ion ism and the theory of the '£lan v i t a l 1 in the i r attempt to preserve the directness and o r i g i n a l i t y of the sp i r i t ua l experience. The other camp, that i s the wr i ters who know per fect ly well that commonplaces and c l iches are the oC pr ice of mutual understanding . . . he ca l l s the ' r h e t o r i c i a n s ' . " To what extent Brancusi 's language const i tuted an act of cu l tura l terror ism or rhetor ic can also only be analysed af ter the ent i re oeuvre has been examined. 52 Footnotes: Chapter II 1. Ge is t , 1968, p. 148. 2. "The work i s eas i l y d i v i s i b l e into two c lea r l y marked phases: the .student and ear ly works up to the Prayer, and the mature period beginning soon a f te r . " Ge is t , 1975, p. 14. 3. Ge is t , 1978, p. 14. 4. For example: Wisdom of the Earth, 1908; Head, 1908; Sleeping  C h i l d , 1908; Danaide, 1907-1908; Baroness R . F . , 1909; Torso, 1909. 5. Brancusi i n a conversation with H.P. Roche, in reference to the Montparnasse version of 1909, c i ted in i b i d . , n. 11, p. 99. 6. Maivina Hoffman, Sculpture Inside and Out (New York: Bonanza Books, 1939), pp. 53-54. 7. Ge is t , 1978, p. 1. 8. I b i d . , pp. 40, 42. 8a. Ron Johnson, The Early Sculpture of Picasso 1901-1914 (New York: Garland, 1976), p. 63. 8b. Ib id . , p. 69. 9. Ge is t , 1978, pp. 38-39. 10. Ib id . , p. 40. 11. Ib id . 12. I b i d . , pp. 27-30. 13. I b i d . , pp. 29-30. Geist elaborates more extensively on Brancusi 's s o c i a l i s t sympathies in 1975, and discusses them in terms of the Redskins, Por t ra i t of M.S. Lupesco, as well as in the Penguins. Ge is t , 1975, p. 19. 14. Daniel Robbins, "From Symbolism to Cubism: The Abbaye of C r e t e i l , " in Art Journa l , Winter, 1963/64, p. 112. 15. Ib id . 16. I b i d . , p. 114. 17. Ge is t , 1978, p. 69. 53 18. Ge i s t , 1968, p. 142. 19. Ge is t , 1978, p. 22. 20. Geist says "Rodin's protagonists . . . imply a.past and a future. . . . [Brancusi 's ] Kiss i s enacted in an eternal present, without memory or an t i c i pa t i on . " Ge is t , 1968, p. 142. See also "The Kiss should turn us away from European t rad i t ions back towards more pr imi t ive o r i g i n s . " Lewis, p. 14. 21. Brancusi , c i ted in Ge is t , 1968, p. 172. 21a. Perhaps the best descr ipt ion of th is important d i s t i nc t i on occurs in Robert F l o r i d a , ."The G i r l Who Married the Bear," in Rel ig ion and  Culture in Canada, essays by members of the Canadian Society for the Study of Re l i g i on , 1979, pp. 82-83: "In "'The Structural Study of My th ' " , L^vi-Strauss argues that myth operates on two sca les : the diachronic and the synchronic. On the diachronic scale the narrat ive forges along from event to event in chronological sequence wh i ls t on the synchronic scale time stands s t i l l or col lapses upon i t s e l f , as i t were. "'On the one hand, a myth always refers to events al leged to have taken place long ago. But what gives the myth an operational value i s that the spec i f i c pattern described is t imeless; i t explains the present and the past as well as the future . . . Thus myth has a double s t ruc ture , altogether h i s to r i ca l and a h i s t o r i c a l . " ' The equation between these two terms should not be thought of as equal , for as "the story l i ne of the myth is d iachronic , . . . the structure conveys the syn-chronic or t imeless meaning." For a fur ther discussion of time in myth as opposed to history see L^v i -St rauss, Structural Anthropology, Chapter X I , "The Structural Study of Myth," pp. 206-231. 21b. Le"vi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, p. 21-22. 22. See Lewis, p. 12. 23. Such a l i ne was also used in the uprights fo r the Gate of the Kiss and was interpreted as s ign i fy ing "the form of two c e l l s that meet and create l i f e . . . . The beginning of l i f e . . . through love . " Brancusi confirmed th is in te rpre ta t ion . Maivina Hoffman, p. 53. 24. Krauss, Tucker and Geist have s u f f i c i e n t l y demonstrated that Brancusi 's work was never consis tent ly about the inherent qual -i t i e s of his mater ia ls . These were, rather , emphasised or repressed as the occasion and conception demanded. See, in pa r t i cu l a r , Ge is t , 1968, pp. 158-161. 54 25. Lewis, p. 27. 26. " . . . l ' a r t const i tue, au plus haut po int , cette pr ise de possession de. la nature par la cu l tu re , " Levi-Strauss in Charbonnier, p. 130. 26a. Jacques De Caso and P a t r i c i a Sanders, Rodin's Sculpture, A C r i t i c a l Study of the Spreckel 's Co l lec t ion (San Francisco: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1977), p. 151. 27. "A native thinker makes the penetrating comment that ' " a l l sacred things must have the i r p l a c e . ' " i t could even be said that being in the i r place is what makes them sacred for i f they were taken out of t he i r p lace, even in thought, the ent i re order of the universe would be destroyed." Lev i -S t rauss , The Savage Mind, p. 10. To what extent th is explains Brancusi 's propensity for keeping his work together in his studio both before and a f ter his death can only be surmised. 28. Leach's comment on th is aspect of mythological thought is worth c i t i n g at length. "Another ' con t rad ic t ion ' of a comparable kind [to that of the or ig in of l i f e and the problem of incest ] is that the concept of l i f e en ta i l s the concept of death; a l i v i n g thing is that which i s not dead, a dead thing i s that which is not a l i v e . But re l i g ion endeavours to separate these two i n t r i n s i c a l l y interdependent concepts so that we have myths which account for the o r ig in [author's emphasis] of death or which represent death as 'the gate-way to eternal l i f e ' . Levi-Strauss has argued that when we are considering the un ive rsa l i s t aspects of pr imi t ive mythology we sha l l repeatedly discover that the hidden message is concerned with the resolut ion of unwelcome contradict ions of th is sor t . The repet i t ions and prevaricat ions of mythology so fog the issue that i r reso lvab le log ica l inconsistencies are los t s ight of even when they are openly expressed." Edmund Leach, Levi-Strauss (Glasgow: Fontana, 1970) Revised Ed i t i on , 1974, p. 58. 29. See Leach, pp. 58 and 65. 30. Le~vi-Strauss , Structural Anthropology, p. 209. 31. Henri Bergson, MatiSre et Memoire (Par is : L ib ra i re Fe l i x A lcan, 1914, 18th ed.) and L 'evolut ion Creat ice (Par i s : L ib ra i re Fe l i x A lcan , 1914, 12 ed.) 32. I b i d . , p. i . 33. Much o f . t h i s material was los t or stolen before the t ransfer of the studio to the Musee. Ge is t , 1978, note 27, p. 100. 55 34. See preface to English t rans la t ion of Select ions from Bergson (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1949), p. x i v . 35. "The enormous inf luence exercised by Henri Bergson (1859-1941) in the opening years of the century cannot have f a i l ed to touch Brancusi . " Ge is t , 1968, p. 147. 36. Ib id . 37. Alber t El sen, Origins of Modern Sculpture, Pioneers and Premises (Oxford: Phaidon, 1974), p. 23. "Bergson's ideas were also at the core of the Abbaye de Cre t ie l group. . . . By 1911 the Berg-sonian view—no doubt often blurred or simplif ied—was the common property of the avant-garde. . . . The publ icat ions of the Abbaye c i r c l e between 1908 and 1912 demonstrate beyond a doubt the importance to the i r ent i re approach of the Bergsonian view." Christopher Green, Leger and the Avant Garde (New Haven: Yale Universi ty Press, 1976), p. 25. 38. Arnold Hauser, The Social . History of A r t , Vo l . 4, Natural ism, Impressionism, the Film Age (London: Routledge and Kegan Pau l , 1962), pp. 219-220. CHAPTER III Af ter carving the f i r s t K i s s , Brancusi began to develop his oeuvre with two ser ies of stone heads. The sequence of the f i r s t of these has been establ ished by Ge is t , Tucker, et . a l . They have general ly ordered th is ser ies by formal s i m i l a r i t i e s , that i s , by placing the works in metaphorical sequence. When both form and content are examined s t ruc-t u r a l l y , however, i t can be demonstrated that a secondary code of meaning also jo ins the works. Indeed, th is meaning can be formulated with such prec is ion that the existence of cer ta in key works can be predicted in advance. Le*vi-Strauss has, at one point in the analysis of formal and contextual elements of pr imi t ive a r t , indicated that p red i c tab i l i t y is the proof of the e f f i cacy of the methodology.^ At cer ta in po in ts , then, the concerns of the ser ies w i l l be assessed, and the i r inherent log ica l progressions used to project the qua l i t i es of fo l lowing works. The success of the analys is can be measured by the degree to which a l l the de ta i l s of these works can be fo re to ld . Brancusi i n i t i a t e d the f i r s t ser ies with the Sleeper of 1908. A ve i led and withdrawn v isage, represented n a t u r a l i s t i c a l l y , i s hal f embedded and ha l f emerging from a roughly hewn marble block. The con-t ras t between image and mater ia l , as opposed to the i r conjunction in the K i s s , i s s i gn i f i can t . Employing technical and representational means prec ise ly invert ing those of the K i s s , Brancusi again refers to the 57 process of raw material taking shape and de f in i t i on through the a r t i s t ' s touch—or, in other terms, the emergence of cul ture ( i . e . , art object) from nature ( i . e . , non-di f ferent iated material matrix) through the mediation of the image creat ing a r t i s t . Thus, while inver t ing the abstract ion of the K i s s , Brancusi s t i l l restates the central problem and proposit ion common to both otherwise d i ss im i l a r sculptures. In l i n g u i s t i c terms, the code has been a l t e red , but the message remains the same. That i s , however, not the only correspondence between the Kiss and the Sleeper. The l a t t e r also bears a formal s i m i l a r i t y to works by Rodin: the Aurora of 1885, and the Muse of c. 1900. By creat ing two works, both related t^o Rodin, but using opposing modes of representat ion, Brancusi states his opposit ion to h i s t o r i c a l sculptura l evolut ion. He again compresses and brackets time by bringing together the s ty les of the e a r l i e s t and most d is tant cul tures and one from contemporary exper-ience. In so doing, he again announces his intent ion to be t imeless, out-side of t ime, synchronic rather than-diachronic. This tension between the temporal and the e te rna l , with the emphasis on the l a t t e r , can be observed throughout his work. But the Sleeper does more than jus t restate old themes. I t also introduces new phi losophical ideas to those expressed in the K iss . The Sleeper 's head, embedded in a material matr ix, and only hal f formed, is imprisoned, unable to move. The t i t l e and the forms thus denote uncon-sciousness and immobil i ty. I f the assumptions of the methodology are cor rec t , a d i rec t inference to consciousness and mobi l i ty must also be 58 present, although not necessar i ly e x p l i c i t at th is point . They must, however, be present in the oeuvre as a whole, and, in f a c t , occur in the next work. As with the elements of the K i s s , we must again turn to Bergson for a contemporary discussion and source of these ideas. Indeed Bergson analysed the dua l i s t i c opposit ion and re la t ions between consciousness, as expressed through sensory awareness, and unconscious-ness, as expressed in s leep. Moreover, he discussed these ideas in terms of mobi l i ty and immobi l i ty, and ul t imately in terms of the opposit ion between matter and s p i r i t . This discussion occupies much of both Matiere et Memoire and Creative Evolut ion. Bergson's hypothesis explains both the nature of the Sleeper and establ ishes the premises of the fo l low-ing work. Bergson opens his f i r s t chapter of Matiere et Memoire, "De la se lect ion des images pour le representat ion—le ro le _ctu.j corps" with a statement about states of perception. Nous a l lons feindre pour un instant que nous de connaissions r ien des theories de la matieYe et des theories de 1 'espr i t , r ien des discussions sur la r ea l i t e ou l ' ide 'a l i te ' du monde exter ieur . Me vo ic i done en presence d 1 images, au sens le plus vague ou l 'on puisse prendre ce mot, images percues quand j 'ouvre mes sens, impercues quand je les ferme.3 But more to the point , in the second chapter of Creative Evolu t ion, Bergson discusses at length the opposit ion between consciousness and mobi l i ty and sleep and immobil ity in.terms of the evolutionary process. In Bergson's philosophy, these concepts appear at e i ther end of the polar axis of creat ive evolut ion. He postulates that they are in fac t the def in ing charac te r is t i cs which separate animal from plant l i f e . Furthermore, human and animal l i f e are separated in that humans have a 59 conscious in te l l i gence above mere animal i n s t i n c t . This i n t e l l i gence , which allows for the power of motion and control of the material wor ld, i s unique to the species and resides in the b ra in , medulla and nervous system of the human physiognomy. We have already said that the animals and vegetables must have separated soon from the i r common stock, the vegetable f a l l i n g asleep in immobi l i ty, the animal, on the contrary, becoming more and more awake and marching on to the conquest of the nervous system.4 . . . the whole evolut ion of the animal kingdom, apart from ret ro-gressions towards vegetative l i f e , has taken place in two divergent paths, one of which led to i ns t i nc t and the other to i n te l l i gence . . . . i n te l l i gence i s l i k e l y to point towards consciousness, and i ns t i nc t towards nonconsciousness. . . . the human species . . . rep resen ts the culminating point of the evolut ion of the vertebrates, (p. 141) But as Bergson says, humans may degenerate down the scale of evolu-t ion by becoming, l i k e p lan ts , asleep. This statement in the content of the Sleeper would lead us to expect a simultaneous and corresponding, statement in the form. This i s , in f ac t , the case. It w i l l be reca l led that evolutions occurs over time. In Bergson's view, "The more we study the nature of t ime, the more we sha l l comprehend that duration means invent ion, the creat ion of forms, the continuous elaborat ion of the 4b absolutely new." The Sleeper i s , however, unl ike the K i ss , not so. It i s ra ther , i n Bergson's terms, pa ras i t i c l i k e a human that degenerates -down the evolut ionary ladder, in that i t s form retrogresses by being borrowed d i rec t l y from Rodin. Th is , both the form and the content of the S1eeper, s i gn i f y two aspects of Bergson's concept of evolut ionary re t rogress ion; i t s form flows against the evolut ion of t ime, i t s content 60 flows against the evolut ion of consciousness. The importance of the foregoing to the present discussion i s that i t establ ishes deeper l inks between the Sleeper and the Kiss in terms o f el.an v i t a l e and creat ive evolut ion. While the Kiss seems to demon-st ra te the act ive part of th is p r i n c i p l e , the Sleeper contains the negative s ide . Furthermore, i t would appear that i f the correspondence between the subject of the Sleeper and the contemporary concerns of Bergson's philosophy are cor rec t , then Brancusi has repeated the process evident in the Kiss of drawing an image from his environment, s p e c i f i c a l l y a work by Rodin, and, by i so la t i ng i t in the context of his personal oeuvre, endowing i t with a new phi losophical s i gn i f i cance , corresponding to Bergson's ideas. Brancusi 's ser ies of heads i s beginning to emerge as a phi losophical as well as a sculptural discourse. The formal (or metaphorical) and thematic (or metonymical) re la t ions between sculptura l units placed in a coded, semantic ser ies become operative with the head fol lowing the Sleeper: the Muse of 1909. The complex re lat ionships between sculptures, as expressed in the trans-formations, pa ra l l e l s and oppositions inherent in the forms and contents of each, now come into play. As with the Kiss and the Sleeper, Brancusi again draws on Rodin fo r insp i ra t ion for the Muse. The connection i s however, more contempor-ary and of a diminishing nature. It seems to come from two sources: The Muse of about 1900, previously mentioned, and a bronze group, Le  Sculpteur et sa Muse, which Rodin exhibi ted in 1908 at the Socidte Nouvelle de Peintures et Sculptures. Brancusi could not have been 61 unaware of these works. The l a t t e r was described in the Studio. As th is const i tutes an object ive descr ipt ion and contains several important po in ts , i t w i l l be c i ted here. I t i s assumed that Studio 's v is ion was shared across the Channel. A sculptor i s here presented to us seated, the elbow rest ing on his knee and the hand supporting the bent head, his face wearing an expression of sadness or even anguish, betraying a state of great mental tension—a longing fo r emancipation. The female f igure i s symbolical of youth, of i nsp i ra t i on—i t is I r i s the messenger of the gods, who seems to be guarding something imponderable, something c e l e s t i a l . 5 Both the idea of a "messenger from the gods" and the idea of "guarding something imponderable, something c e l e s t i a l " are conveyed by Brancusi 's Muse of the fol lowing year. As w i l l be seen, the element of su f fe r ing , pa r t i cu la r l y as i t appl ies to a r t i s t i c creat ion i s also iso la ted and explored in other works, as i s u l t imately that of emancipation and l i b e r a t i o n . But the s ign i f i cance of Rodin's group goes much fur ther than t h i s . Le Sculpteuret sa Muse was a statement of Rodin's be l ie fs on the cor re la t ion between sexual and a r t i s t i c c reat ion. De Caso and Sanders point out that , It remained for Rodin to make th is e ro t i c re la t ionsh ip between muse and a r t i s t e x p l i c i t . He wrote to his good f r i e n d , Helene von Nos t i t z : "A gentle woman i s the mighty intermediary between God and us a r t i s t s . . . . " He saw sexual love as a way to a r t i s t i c achievement: "I have heard the bellowing of my s p i r i t in bat t le for woman. I have spied on myself in my moments of passions, of the in tox ica t ion of love, and I have studied them for my a r t . . . . " . . . In The Sculptor and His Muse, th is associat ion i s c lea r l y expressed; the muse, who stimulates the sculptor sexu-a l l y while she whispers in his ear, has both e ro t i c and i n te l l ec tua l powers.5a As we sha l l see, Brancusi 's Muse also states the re la t ion between sexual and a r t i s t i c creat ion in terms of a mediation between man and the gods. 62 But while Brancusi draws on Rodin for his insp i ra t ion and his ideas, he also states them in a highly_personal form, that i s in many ways the reversal of Rodin, and adds several other layers of meaning drawn pr imar i ly from Bergson. In opposit ion to the Sleeper, the Muse again breaks with Rodin's sculptura l concerns. Brancusi returns to an abstracted conception, that of a s t y l i zed head ly ing on i t s s ide . Although recognizably female by the de l i ca te ly delineated features, and the textur ing representing ha i r , the surface of the work i s almost undisturbed. Brancusi has emphasised the underlying ovo ida l , egg- l ike form by reducing f igura t ive a r t i c u l a t i o n . The head can thus not be thought of as a Rodinesque anatomical or sculptural fragment. Conversely, the Muse has been observed as a s ingular form, complete in i t s e l f . ^ This is not to say that the Muse i s s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l . Like a l l the works in Brancusi 's oeuvre, i t takes i t s s ign i f icance from i t s re la t ionsh ip to the others in the sculptural system. Indeed, i t can be demonstrated that the Muse i s a prec ise , yet complex, inversion and opposit ion to the Sleeper on, every l e v e l . For example, the Muse again refers to Bergson's d u a l i s t i c concep-t ion of perception as expressed in consciousness and unconsciousness. Indeed, th is reference here becomes far more e x p l i c i t . The eyes of the Muse, open in the or ig ina l marble vers ion , were polished in subsequent bronze casts to appear c losed. The reference to the "opening and c los ing of the senses" c i ted from Bergson in reference to the Sleeper, i s now complete. In opposit ion to the Sleeper, then, the o r ig ina l Muse i s conscious. 63 The correspondence and opposit ion of conception between the two works e x i s t s , however, on both the contextual and formal l e v e l . The Muse, being conscious, i s , i f Bergson's ideas apply, theore t i ca l l y mobile and able to act on i t s environment. As an expression of th is s ta te , Brancusi has freed the head from the material matr ix, the quarried rock, which enmeshed and immobilized the Sleeper. The Muse, with eyes and senses e i ther open or c losed, i s never unconscious. Rather i t i s "guard-ing something imponderable," and pregnant with a creat ive mystery. Its v is ion i s turned inwards, not extinguished as in the Sleeper. Nonethe-l e s s , the re la t ionsh ip between the eyes must be seen as l ink ing the two sculptures. In th is case, the ambiguity of v i s i o n , rather than the v isual ambiguity, allows the dual nature of the Muse to mediate between the opposing states of l i gh t and dark and by extension, between those of sleep and consciousness. This i s confirmed by Brancusi 's use of an a l te rnat ive image of the Muse which was upright and aware. This work w i l l be discussed in more depth in a d i f fe rent context as i t i s not general ly associated with th is se r ies . Another set of complex oppositions indicate that the treatment of the reverse side of the Muse has an importance equal to that of the face. It w i l l be reca l led that the balance between f igure and ground (or in th is case rock) from which the visage emerges was essent ia l to the in te r -pretat ion of the Sleeper. There, the rough hewn marble behind the face was read not only as s ign i fy ing non-di f ferent iated material (nature) but a lso as immobil i ty. I f the two works can be re lated in sequence, and s im i la r units compared, then i t can be seen that the non-defined rock 64 behind the head of the Sleeper has been transformed in the Muse into an ordered ser ies of s t r i a t i ons representing ha i r and a c i r cu l a r motif at the base of the sku l l—a chignon. Th is , in i t s e l f , is not c lea r l y s i gn i f -i can t , although i t implies the complete imposit ion of order ( i . e . , cu l ture) on non-di f ferent iated nature.^ The treatment of the hai r can, however, also be read as the image of a human brain with the chignon appearing as the medulla: a v isual pun playing on a s i m i l a r i t y of image or s i g n . ^ a It has already been establ ished that in Bergson's philosophy, the medulla and brain order non-di f ferent iated nature as they are the o centre of sensory perception (consciousness) and of mob i l i t y . The senses perceive d iv is ions in an otherwise continuous material wor ld, of which they are par t , and put i t in order by insp i r ing act ion on i t . Thus the double reading of the ha i r as also brain/medulla is ra t i ona l l y and ph i losoph ica l ly related to the open eyes and the freedom from the imprison-ing material matrix which separate the Muse from the Sleeper. Graphic-a l l y , one can see that as material matrix (nature) -unconsc iousness, immobility . so conversely ha i r , chignon (medulla) = cu l tu re , consciousness, mobi l i t y . The opposit ions evident in the f ront of the sculpture have been restated and provided with an ambiguous mediating element in the form of a v isual pun which allows for a conceptual transformation between them. The t reat -ment of the front and back of the Muse are thus coherently and conceptually integrated and represent solut ions to problems of a nature well beyond that of the purely formal or scu lp tu ra l . 65 Some further explanation of th is in terpretat ion i s necessary, however, to understand the process by which these important transforma-t ions are ef fected. Puns are based on ambiguities or double meanings in s igns , or in s i m i l a r i t i e s between them which disguise the i r di f ference and allow them to be interchanged in a play on words. The success of th is operation often depends on the context. Thus the treatment of the textured ha i r is s u f f i c i e n t l y ambiguous as a v isual sign to be in te r -preted also as representing a brain/medul la. A double reading is poss ib le , as both hai r and brain l i e back of the face, that is they are"re lated by context. S i m i l a r l y , the same ambiguity in the textured surface i s re lated to the texture of the rock in the Sleeper, which also l i e s behind the head, and thereby shares in the same context. The internal coherence of th is system leads to the expectation of a d i rec t re la t i onsh ip , both contextual ly and conceptual ly, between quarry stone and brain/medul la. This has been shown to ex is t by re fer r ing to Bergson, in which they have a common context in that they re fe r , in the sculptures, to the problem of mobi1ity/immobi1ity and consciousness/unconsciousness. Such a t r i p l e layered v isual pun, depending as i t does on the overlay of an outside phi losophical system, would seem excessively sub jec t ive , i f i t were not corroborated by a corresponding verbal pun of which Brancusi , as a sculptor would have undoubtedly been aware. In French, medulla i s g moelle. Quarry stone, or rubble rock, is moellon. Both v isual and verbal s i g n i f i e r s are close enough to be almost interchangeable when the context warrants i t , despite the di f ference in meaning. This double correspondence between the v isual and the verbal places the in terpretat ion 66 outside the realm of the fo r tu i tous , the accidental or the subject ive. But Brancusi 's use of th is pun is of a special nature; i t i s not simply humor, a play on words, although in th is sense the Muse does in fac t amuse.^ The elaborate pun allows dua l i s t i c concepts d iametr ica l ly opposed to be transformed into each other through ambiguous mediating semantic uni ts . The Sleeper i s unconsciousness and immobility expressed in terms of non-di f ferent iated mate r ia l i t y . Conversely, the Muse is consciousness and mobi l i ty expressed in terms of ordered and d i f fe ren-t ia ted mater ia l . The ambiguities in the units s ign i fy ing these states allow one to be transformed into the other, the contradict ion i s overcome. The s ign i f icance of th is re la t ionship to that between the unique form of the Muse and the copied form of the Sleeper i s c l a r i f i e d by returning i t to Brancusi 's re la t ion with Rodin and Bergson. It has been indicated that the Sleeper descends Bergson's evolut ionary scale towards the unconsciousness and immobility of plant l i f e . Conversely, the Muse ascends the scale towards consciousness and mobi l i t y . But Bergson's concept of creat ive evolut ion goes beyond that , i t also involves a continued quest for new forms, for absolute o r i g i n a l i t y on the part of the s p i r i t d i rec t ing evolut ion. Thus the.Sleeper again descends the scale as i t i s a copy of what was before. It regresses. The Muse, although based on a theme by Rodin, i s , l i k e the K i s s , an absolutely unique conception. No precedent i s known for i t s form. The "absolute o r i g i n a l i t y " of i t s form thus progresses even further up Bergson's sca le . From th is point onwards, Brancusi never again d i rec t l y copies a form from R o d i n . ^ Thus a l l the units of the two works, taken from the i r source, 67 form and content are coherently re la ted , i f the inf luences of Rodin and Bergson are taken into account.. The works maintain the conceptual re la t ionsh ip expressed in the i r const i tuent units and in the i r whole as diametric opposi tes, or a cont rad ic t ion , reconci led through ambiguous mediating elements. This may be expressed graph ica l ly . The Sleeper Ambiguous Elements The Muse sleep non-sensory perception darkness eyes open and closed in the Muse consciousness sensory perception l i gh t Formal S i m i l a r i t i e s : both heads l i e on the i r sides immobility non-di f fe rent i ated material verbal pun on moene/moellon v isual pun on quarry stone, ha i r , brain mobi l i ty d i f f e ren t i a ted , ordered material Rodin copy of the past reference to Rodin in the Muse Brancusi absolute or i gi na l i ty A l l of these opposit ions operate to form a larger opposi t ion: descent on the scale of creat ive evolut ion (low) (a l l of the above) ascent on the scale of creat ive evolut ion (high) 68 The underlying ovoid of the Muse may however have added meaning. Unlike faceted geometric forms, ovoids have continuous, non-di f ferent iated surfaces. Brancusi has interrupted the conceptual cont inui ty of the ovoid by subtle surface a r t i cu la t i on representing a face. The image i s thus an opposit ion in which the discontinuous ( i . e . , the defined visage of the Muse) i s emerging from the cont inui ty beneath i t . It i s prec ise ly th is opposit ion with which Bergson opens Creative Evolution and the chapter on "Durat ion," and to which he devotes much of his study. Here, he discusses the opposit ion between the real cont inui ty of perception and the apparent d iscont inu i ty of separate experience. This is explored both in terms of duration in t ime, and experience, and in material or 12 space. Brancusi , too, w i l l occupy much of his time with s im i la r ideas, although his conclusions w i l l be d iametr ica l ly opposed to those of Bergson. One of the metaphors Bergson uses for describing the apparent d iscont inu i ty of experience in the continuous duration and flow of time is the image of separate beads on a necklace, held together by a continu-13 ous thread. This may also apply to Brancusi 1 s ser ies of heads, which also appear as beads, strung together on a conceptual in f ras t ruc ture . These Bergsonian oppositions do not, however, const i tute the ent i re s ign i f i cance of the Muse. Both the Kiss and Rodin's precedent lead to the expectation of a personal statement on the re la t ionship between a r t i s t i c and sexual powers. Furthermore, we expect a mediating element between these opposites. A l l of th is i s present in Brancusi 's 69 Muse. The underlying egg form is an image of sexual creat ion. The superimposed, more s p e c i f i c , image of the Muse c l ea r l y represents a r t i s t i c i nsp i ra t i on . The two opposing forms of creat ion are thus made metaphoric equivalents. They can be transformed into each other through the i r s i m i l a r i t i e s . Indeed, i t would seem that in the Muse they depend on each other for the i r existence. Brancusi has thus s k i l l f u l l y obscured the dif ferences between them. But he also chose to state th is reconci led opposit ion by enclosing i t wi thin another; that of the sacred and the profane. The egg is pro-fane and mate r ia l , the muse i s sacred and belongs to the 'other world 1 of the gods. Consequently, the muse does not alone seem to be the mediating l ink between these opposi t ions. Rather, i t i s again the a r t i s t which performs th is funct ion. The a r t i s t i s at once in touch with the gods through his insp i ra t ion and- at the same t ime, to the extent that his insp i ra t ion l i e s in his sexua l i t y , he dwells in the pro-fane realm. Thus in empir ical r e a l i t y , i t i s the a r t i s t which jo ins the sacred and the profane, and the sexual and the a r t i s t i c . As sha l l be seen, Brancusi l a te r makes th is view, which he shares with Rodin, more e x p l i c i t . With the Muse, then, Brancusi seems to be maintaining and extend-ing the concerns expressed in the K iss . The Kiss sublimates a r t i s t i c creat ion in an image of sexual c reat ion . The Muse, conversely, sub-limates sexual creat ion in the image of a r t i s t i c creat ion. In both, the a r t i s t serves as mediator; in the f i r s t between nature and cu l tu re , in the second between the sacred and the profane. This pa ra l le l ro le leads 70 to the expectation of a d i rec t cor re la t ion l i nk ing the two opposi t ions. Le*vi-Strauss points out that such an equation between the two dua l i t i es does in fact ex is t in mythological systems. In his extended analysis of two Greek myths of Zeus and.Europa .and of Minos and the Minotaur, he reaches the conclusion that the underlying structure of each states that a log ica l equation between, naturejand cul t u repa ra l l e ls that between 14 gods .and man. Thus three things become evident. A d i rec t re la t ionsh ip ex is ts between the Muse and the Kiss that i s not evident from any formal s im i la r -i t y between the two. The posi t ion of the l a t t e r as the conceptual cornerstone of the oeuvre is thus confirmed. Secondly, these co r re la -t ions are to be found expressed in terms of opposi t ions, p a r a l l e l s , and transformations, that i s , concrete l og i c . I t becomes c lea r then, that although Brancusi i s drawing on the contemporary sources of Rodin and Bergson, he is t rans la t ing them into terms of pr imi t ive thought. Th i rd l y , an exalted ro le of the a r t i s t as jo in ing the sexual with the a r t i s t i c and the sacred with the profane i s beginning to emerge. The Kiss lacks only the element of su f fe r ing , also stated in Rodin's Le  Sculpteur et sa Muse, to make the correspondence complete. As w i l l be seen th is too emerges, and becomes e x p l i c i t as the oeuvre develops. The themes expressed in the K i s s , the Sleeper and the Muse thus al low,, in a small way, a l imi ted predict ion of the next work in the se r i es . Several expectations a r i se . A l l three works have had to do, in some way, with the dual i ty of consciousness and unconsciousness. This has been expressed large ly in terms of the eyes, that is the 71 perception of l i g h t . A s im i l a r theme should also occupy the next work. S i m i l a r l y , the concept of movement, or the a b i l i t y to shape the environ-ment through consciousness has also been prevalent. This too, should occur. The idea of sexual creat ion must occur and be expressed in opposit ion to a r t i s t i c creat ion. I f the relevance of Rodin i s cor rec t , the l a t t e r should involve an element of su f fe r ing . ' There must also be an opposit ion expressed in terms of the sacred and the profane, and u l t imate ly , in terms of nature and cu l tu re . F i n a l l y , the Bergsonian dualism of dlan v i t a l e , or of s p i r i t and matter must be present. Without these continued themes, the fol lowing work could not be thought of as a continued discussion of the ideas expressed so fa r . New ideas may, however, s t i l l be introduced. Brancusi produced two more heads fol lowing the Muse in 1911. Both have t i t l e s drawn from Greek mythology: Prometheus and the Danaide. Although the two are also formally s i m i l a r , only the former i s usual ly placed in ser ies with the Muse. The establ ished precedent w i l l be followed here. The Prometheus is d i rec t l y related to the Muse in both form and content. Brancusi has transformed the unitary ovoid of the Muse into the spherical shape of Prometheus. This sphere i s disturbed on the lower side by the addit ion of a shoulder. The head of the t i t an f a l l s on the shoulder in a gesture of torment which had preoccupied Brancusi for some time. It w i l l also be reca l led that the male f igure in Rodin's A r t i s t  and his Muse was also depicted as su f fe r ing . Brancusi has avoided, however, a l l the express ion is t i c p o s s i b i l i t i e s depicted in Prometheus' 72 15 su f fe r ing , except the posture of the head. The fac ia l features, rather than being contorted, are even more ref ined than those of the Muse. Indeed, the l i p s , nose and eyes are barely v i s i b l e . Like the Muse, Prometheus presents a visage that hovers between continuous and d i s -continuous surface a r t i c u l a t i o n . This w i l l be seen to carry the same message as in the Muse. In both subject and execut ion, the Muse and Prometheus have ident-i ca l re la t ionships to the work of Rodin. But again, Brancusi has gone to greater lengths to emphasize the polar opposit ion between himself and Rodin. This i s v i s i b l e in the expression or rather the expressionless visage of Prometheus with i t s t igh t l ipped mouth, which suf fers in s i l ence . On the other hand, the "open mouth, [was] a favor i te device of 15a Rodin's for expressing anguish." The formal s i m i l a r i t i e s and the common point of o r ig in between the Muse and Prometheus would seem to indicate that the two should be seen as apposites rather than opposites. This would ind ica te , in turn , that they express pa ra l l e l concepts rather than contradic t ions. As the form of one is transformed into the form of the other, so should the concepts of one become those of the other. This i s found to be prec ise ly the case when the content of the Prometheus is examined and compared with that of the Muse. As has been pointed out in the e a r l i e r discussion of the Muse, the mythological reference of the t i t l e of Prometheus i s fundamental to the conception of the piece and i t s re la t ionships with the other units in the system. The ra t i ona l i t y of the re lat ionships appears when the 73 myths are broken down, through a process out l ined by L^v i -St rauss, into the i r consti tuent un i ts . As Leach points out, "Levi-Strauss assumes that myth (any myth) can read i ly be broken up into segments or inc iden ts , and that everyone fam i l i a r with the story w i l l agree as to what these incidents a r e . " ^ Or, as L£vi-Strauss s ta tes , "Myth l i k e the rest of language, i s made up of consti tuent u n i t s . H e c a l l s these gross const i tuent units of meaning mythemes. The object of mythological ana l ys i s , as has previously been demonstrated in the K i s s , i s to f ind and i so la te the mythemes in order to es tab l ish the i r re lat ionships in the underlying synchronic structure of the m y t h . ^ a I t i s general ly agreed that these reveal diametric opposites which are resolved through mediating elements. These resolut ions are frequently ef fected through log ica l inversions or transformations in s ta tes . I t i s not, however, possible to analyse the Prometheus myth completely according to th is methodology. Constraints of space make i t necessary to proceed d i r ec t l y to the conclusion. The units which const i tute the Prometheus s to ry , as i t would have have been known to Brancusi , are well known. The primary incident involves Prometheus s tea l ing the sacred f i r e of the gods from heaven and bringing i t to the darkened, chaotic world of p r e c i v i l i z e d man. An opposit ion between the sacred and the profane worlds l i e s ; c lea r l y at the heart of th is inc ident . Prometheus and the f i r e ( l igh t ) are the mediat-ing elements between the realms. By v io la t ing the taboo of the gods, Prometheus endowed humanity with the power over nature which allowed fo r the creat ion of cu l ture. A second opposi t ion, between nature and 74 cu l tu re , thus emerges in th is transformation. A ser ies of three para l le l and equivalent opposites emerges, nature i s to cul ture as the gods are to man and as dark is to l i g h t . These opposi t ions, i t w i l l be r eca l l ed , are present in the Muse as we l l . In th is case, however, i t i s Prometheus rather than the insp i r ing Muse which mediates between them. As w i l l be shown, however, the Muse and the t i t an are also equivalents, or at least so close to being such as to obscure the i r d i f ferences. The next incident in the myth has Prometheus teaching humanity c i v i l i z a t i o n and the a r t s . This confirms the l ink between a r t i s t i c creat ion and the sacred expressed in the Muse. The a r t i s t , although part of humanity, is again seen as in touch with the gods, and mediates between the two realms. Simultaneously, the a r t i s t transforms material (nature) into cul ture (art) and thus mediates between them as w e l l . Both Prometheus and the Muse are operators in the transformation of art from the div ine realm to the profane. They are equivalents. The correspondence between the two myths and sculptures can, however, be car r ied fu r ther , by re- introducing the problems of sexual creat ion (the opposite of d iv ine creation) and of e"lan v i t a l e which contains the opposit ion between material and l i f e force or s p i r i t . The l a t t e r re la t ionsh ip i s found in another incident of the Prometheus myth. According to several vers ions, Prometheus not only created cul ture but also humanity. "Prometheus took some . . . ear th , and kneading i t up 18 with water, made man in the image of the- gods." Thus the t i t an creates l i f e in a s im i la r fashion to the manner in which a sculptor creates form. The correspondence between the (suffer ing) a r t i s t and the (suffer ing) god 75 i s re inforced. This segment also restates and resolves the Bergsonian paradox—that of the or ig in for dual i ty of l i f e and iner t material—by of fer ing a mythological so lu t ion . Unlike Bergson's evolutionary con-cept, which i s h i s t o r i c a l l y and s c i e n t i f i c a l l y or iented, i . e . , d iachronic , Brancusi's occurs in mythic time and space. I t i s , there-fo re , synchronic, outside of t ime, and a n t i - s c i e n t i f i c . I t has been stated that the Muse contains a reference to sexual procreation in i t s underlying form. So does Prometheus. As the myth-i ca l Muse i s based on the ovoid of an egg, so the t i t an Prometheus is based on the head of an in fant . Indeed, as the Muse i s the o r ig in of a r t i s t i c i n s p i r a t i o n , and a r t i s t i c insp i ra t ion is l inked to sexual creat ion (Rodin's Sculpture and his Muse has the Muse with her hand placed on the a r t i s t ' s g e n i t a l s ) , so Prometheus is the or ig in of sexual creat ion. It w i l l be reca l led that in the l a t t e r part of the.myth, Zeus gives Pandora, the f i r s t woman* to the man created by Prometheus. The opposit ion between a r t i s t i c creat ion and sexual creat ion is thus being obscured so thoroughly as to be ind is t ingu ishab le . As w i l l be seen, however, these are not the only problems of sexual i ty that i t i s necessary to solve in terms of obscured d i f ferences. Brancusi gives the Prometheus myth new s ign i f i cance by i so la t i ng i t from the context of c l ass i ca l mythology and placing i t in a semantic system comprised of his own emerging oeuvre. One would not, for example in an analysis of Greek mythology, associate the mythological f igures and s tor ies associated with the Muse and Prometheus. Yet Brancusi has 76 placed them together and emphasised the i r s i m i l a r i t y by making the units representing them almost interchangeable. The re lat ionships of the units of each, although in an unusual context, s t i l l operate on a level common to that of mythology, although they express Brancusi 's own phi losophic and a r t i s t i c concerns. I t has become evident that the correspondence between the Muse and Prometheus i s , beyond the super f i c ia l resemblances, highly complex, but per fect ly r a t i ona l . As in the case between the Muse and the Sleeper, the re la t ionsh ip between the Muse and Prometheus operates on a l l l e v e l s . As terms in a semantic system the two works are v i r t u a l l y interchange-able. They u t i l i z e s im i la r forms, s im i la r content and ident ica l prob-lems. Their re la t ionship with the Kiss is also i d e n t i c a l . They s ign i fy the same concepts. In add i t i on , as w i l l be seen, subtle a l t e ra t i ons , such as the progression from the ovoid of an egg to the spheroid of a c h i l d ' s head, produce a subtle s h i f t in meaning which i s necessary to preserve the log ica l cont inui ty of the developing system and to ass i s t in the movement to the next work in the se r ies . The semantic chain composed of l inked sculptural un i t s , of which Prometheus is par t , continues with a por t ra i t of a ch i l d ca l led George, also from 1911. Because of formal and technical d i s p a r i t i e s , George is not always included in th is se r ies . As a commissioned p o r t r a i t , i t s existence would appear contingent, rather than based on the pers istent log ica l necessity inherent in the works examined so fa r . It must be kept in mind, however, that Brancusi has been shown to use and choose his s ty le and technique according to what he wishes to express. It also 77 seems that Brancusi by th is t ime, had narrowed his production to two or three new works a year , rather than the endless studies executed pr ior to 1907. He was accepting only those commissions which complemented 19 his integrated conceptions. George i s , in f ac t , not only a po r t r a i t , but also the culmination of a long ser ies of ch i ld ren 's heads on which Brancusi had been working for many years. I t 'must, then, despite apparent d i s p a r i t i e s , be included as an important and in tegra l part of the oeuvre under considerat ion. George i s male by t i t l e rather than form. The eyes are c losed. The arms, with abstracted f inger less hands, are drawn up under the c h i l d ' s r ight cheek. The head is in repose, at peace. It w i l l be reca l led that in Rodin's Sculpture and his Muse, th is gesture was assoc-iated with pain. Brancusi thus has departed en t i re ly from his former mentor by withdrawing from and invert ing his ideas. This w i l l , in f a c t , be the las t d i rec t reference to Rodin to be found in his' work, in terms of e i the r s ty le or content. The causal or metonymical re la t ionsh ip expressed by the ser ies of the Muse, Prometheus and George is at the same time i n t r i ca te and simple: From the Muse comes sculpture, and l i f e From Prometheus comes sculpture and l i f e From the a r t i s t s comes sculpture and l i f e . Therefore, Muse = Prometheus = Sculptor or God = A r t i s t Yet , at the same time, Brancusi has also equated chi ldren and gods by using one to represent the other, so that both a semantic and 78 conceptual transformation between the two i s poss ib le . It would seem to fo l low, then, that a r t i s t also equals ch i ld ren. As we sha l l see, th is i s prec ise ly the conclusion Brancusi reaches. If George i s to estab l ish th is re la t ionsh ip and f i t into these equations, then i t must be seen as more than jus t a por t ra i t of a d i s -t i nc t person. Rather, George must also be an "everychi Id . " The semi-representational s ty le of the work f a c i l i t a t e s th is mediation between the spec i f i c and the non-defined. This i s , however, i nsu f f i c i en t evidence. The state of infancy must also be seen as conceptually cap-able of containing both spec i f i c ident i ty and general i ty simultaneously. Bergson c l a r i f i e s th is paradoxical nature of chi ldhood, which Le"vi-Strauss also observes, fo l lowing his discourse on e"lan v i t a l e . "Each of us, glancing back over his h is to ry ; w i l l f ind that his c h i l d -persona l i ty , though i n d i v i s i b l e , united in i t s e l f divers persons, which could remain blended jus t because they were in the i r nascent state . . . " Brancusi apparently shared th is conception of chi ldren as ambiguous and un i fy ing , yet possessing d i s t i n c t i den t i t y . The nascent s ta te , i . e , that immediately fol lowing b i r t h , is s i g n i f i c a n t l y that which Brancusi explores in his next work. Given the problems raised thus f a r , and the tendency of the log ica l progression to move from the polar extremes of the mythological to the mundane, from a r t i s t i c creat ion to sexual c rea t ion , and from the defined and adult to the non-defined and the c h i l d l i k e , the next work should further resolve the contradict ion between these opposit ions with a statement about human p roc rea t i v i t y , in a non-di f ferent iated form. 79 This, proves to be the case. The marble Newborn of 1915 i s general ly acknowledged to fol low George, o r , i f George is not included,. Prometheus, in the f i r s t se r ies . The re lat ionships between the three, which are e i ther formally or contextual ly d i rec t l y connected, c l a r i f y Brancusi 's progressive transformations. The form of the Newborn is severely economical, and almost abstract . The sculpture i s composed of l i t t l e more than an ovoid which has been inc ised and truncated. Three elements a re , although highly s i m p l i f i e d , c l ea r l y v i s i b l e as head, eye and mouth. The resu l t ing image is that of a newly created l i f e which, emerging from the unity of the pre-natal darkness, i s experiencing for the f i r s t time both i t s own separate existence and the d i f f e ren t ia t i ng l i gh t of the empirical world. I t i s 21 emitt ing a cry in response to the separat ion. The elements of the form and the impl icat ions of the t i t l e operate together to es tab l ish several opposi t ions. The basic form of the ovoid on which the Newborn i s based i s , as has been stated with the Muse, continuous, non-d i f fe ren t ia ted and un i f ied . Brancusi has again interrupted th is con-t i nu i t y by a minimal surface a r t i c u l a t i o n . Again, the opposit ion between the continuous, or non-defined, and the discontinuous and i den t i f i ab le is present in terms of form and content. The1 Newborn, upon emerging from the womb into the wor ld, i s becoming a d i s t i n c t , s ingle en t i t y , conscious of the di f ference between i t s e l f and the world around. This i s represented by Brancusi by the a r t i cu la t i on of both the mouth and the eye. The Newborn's cry has been interpreted as that of the "shock of b i r t h " which accompanies the creat ion of d iscont inu i ty from cont inu i ty . 80 It has been stated that nature i s continuous, cul ture discontinuous. The emergence of language s i g n i f i e s the s h i f t from nature to cu l ture . The cry of the Newborn i s i t s f i r s t attempt at language and se l f -consciousness. As Leach says, "Af ter a l l , although the human infant i s not born with any innate language, i t ij_ born with an innate capacity both to learn how to make meaningful utterances and also how to decode 22 the meaningful utterances into sound." The sh i f t from cont inui ty to d iscon t inu i t y , and from nature to cul ture i s also stated in the i nc i s ion depict ing the eyes. The Newborn, emerging from darkness and d iscont inu i ty of sensory percept ion, i s f i r s t experiencing l i gh t or v isual perception. As Bergson points out, the funct ion of v is ion and consciousness i s to create d i f f e ren t ia t i on from the continuous environment. The senses perceive ind iv idual objects 23 in what i s otherwise a continuous f i e l d . Thus the emergence-of d i s -cont inui ty from cont inui ty is stated in both form and content, and expressed metaphorical ly in terms of the a r t i cu la t i on of a continuous surface and in terms of the b i r th of a being and the b i r th of a con-sciousness. Again, form and content correspond prec ise ly . These complexit ies are increased in other assoc ia t ions. The Newborn, before i t was born, would be in the dark inner womb, unconscious and ind is t inguishable from i t s mother, a paradoxical two in one, i . e . , Ge is t ' s c e l l d i v i s i o n . The inner dark womb and the outer l i g h t - f i l l e d empir ical world emerge, in th is context, as po la r i t i es on the axis between the continuous and non-d i f ferent ia ted, and the discontinuous or d i f f e ren t ia ted . The opposit ions are both un i f ied and obscured by the 81 Newborn which partakes of and mediates between both realms and states of being. The Newborn, both formally and conceptual ly, stands on the threshold between the two. The internal oppositions of the Newborn can now be examined in re la t ionsh ip to the other works in the se r ies . The content and form of George with i t s quasi-representat ional s t y l e , i t s proper name, and i t s d i s t i n c t ident i ty seems to move towards the i den t i f i ab le and the d i s -continuous. The Newborn, being c loser to the unity of the. womb, extends or d i s t i l s only those elements of George which are ambiguous. In the process, the Newborn has los t George's proper name, i t s d i s t i n c t personal and sexual ident i ty and i t s surface a r t i c u l a t i o n . The re la t i on -ship between the two is one of transformation in a temporal sense rather than one of opposi t ion. George, in t i t l e , form and i t s re la t ionship to Prometheus, implies a developing adult i den t i t y , i . e . , growth and increased d i f f e ren t i a t i on . The Newborn, conversely, moves in the other d i r e c t i o n , i t implies the pre-natal embryo, and non-d i f fe rent ia t ion . In pa r t i cu l a r , as a newborn, i t i s polymorphous, i . e . , without d i s t i nc t sexual i den t i t y . In a l l cases, the Newborn extends the d i s t i n c t features of George into the un iversa l , the ambiguous and the continuous. This concept comes very close to Le*vi-Strauss' view of chi ldren and the mental state of in fan ts . In an extended discussion of these subjects in The Elements of Kinship he dist inguishes between pr imi t ive (adult) thought and the thought of ch i l d ren , which are of two en t i re l y d i f fe ren t orders. Nonetheless, he fee ls that the thought of i n fan ts , because they are the most non-cultured of i nd i v i dua l s , could correspond 82 to the most universal aspects of thought in general. He s ta tes : Every newborn ch i l d provides in embryonic form the sum tota l of p o s s i b i l i t i e s , but each cul ture and period of h is tory w i l l re ta in and develop only a chosen few of them. Every newborn ch i l d comes equipped, in the form of adumbrated mental s t ruc tures, with a l l the means ever ava i lab le to mankind to define i t s re la t ions to the world in general and i t s re la t ions to others. But these structures are exc lus ive. Each of them can integrate only cer ta in elements, out of a l l those that are of fered. . . . In comparison with adult thought, which has chosen and rejected as the group has required, ch i l d thought is a sort of universal substratum the c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n s of which have not yet occurred, and in which communication is s t i l l possible between incompletely s o l i d i f i e d forms.23a Thus, for Lev i -St rauss, as for Brancusi (and for Bergson) newborns border on the d i v i s ion between the continuous and the discont inuous, the d i f fe ren t ia ted and the non-d i f ferent ia ted, the universal and the par t i cu -l a r . As Le*vi-Strauss.says l a t e r , " i n f an t i l e thought represents a sort 23b of common denominator for a l l thoughts and a l l cu l tu res . " By exten-s i on , one might postulate that i f Brancusi remained a c h i l d , then i t is conceivable that he could ex is t in both the modern cul ture of the avant garde in P a r i s , and in the pr imi t ive cul ture of his o r i g ins . Brancusi seems to al lude to th is condit ions when he stated in one of his most famous axions, "Qiiand nous ne sommes plus enfants, nous sommes deja 24 morts." The conception of the ch i ld -s ta te plays a fundamental role in Brancusi 's system as developed thus fa r . I t performs a ro le s im i la r to that of the a r t i s t who also mediates between the opposing realms. The a r t i s t and ch i l d become interchangeable as operators in the transforma-t ion from one end of the axis to the other. 83 This becomes more c lear when the re la t ionsh ip between the Newborn and Prometheus is examined. A formal s i m i l a r i t y ex is ts between the sacred Prometheus and the profane Newborn. S i m i l a r i t i e s ex i s t on other l eve l s . They share aspects of the same emotion: anguish, although Prometheus suffers in t igh t l ipped s i lence while the Newborn wa i l s . The introduct ion of sound always carr ies meaning in mythological systems. Its addi t ional reference to the oppositions between the sacred and pro-fane implied here, w i l l be c l a r i f i e d in the next chapter. The two sculptures are not, however, interchangeable despite the ease with which the form and content of each is transformed into the other, and the fact that both contain a s h i f t from nature to cu l ture. Conceptually, Prometheus and the Newborn are d iametr ica l ly opposed. When interpreted in terms of content, the re la t ionsh ip between them can be seen as a log ica l invers ion. The Newborn is brought from darkness to the world of l i gh t and cu l ture . Conversely, Prometheus brings l i gh t and cul ture to a dark world.. The Newborn comes from the inner profane womb, Prometheus from the higher sacred realm of the gods. Prometheus creates l i f e , the Newborn is created l i f e . Prometheus produces a r t i s t i c c rea t ion , the Newborn i s the product of sexual c reat ion. The two works occupy opposing ends of the polar axis that extends between the sacred and the profane, l i g h t and dark, nature and cu l tu re , and a r t i s t i c and sexual creat ion. In keeping with the purpose of pr imi t ive thought, which is to categorize po la r i t i es and then reconci le them, mediating elements have been shown to be present. These allow one work to be progressively (and conceptually) transformed into the other. This is ef fected through 84 the ambiguous nature of ch i l d ren , and through the s i m i l a r i t i e s of form and s t y l e . On a larger l e v e l , the overal l ser ies Prometheus - George - Newborn forms a temporal sequence based on the process of aging, i . e . , adult -ch i l d - newborn. This theme, as has been pointed out by de Case and Sanders i s present in both Gauguin and R o d i n . ^ a In Youth and Old Age Rodin related the cycle of aging to sexua l i ty . Brancusi , however, has given i t a unique treatment which corresponds more to Bergson than Rodin. For example, Brancusi 's ser ies at f i r s t appear as a set of d i s t i n c t states s ign i fy ing the various ages of man. As such they would seem to correspond to Bergson's metaphor for reason's perception of experience in t ime, that.ls,, l i k e separate beads strung on a necklace. This i s not the case however, for each of the sculptures in some way incorporates aspects of the other, they are consequently not discontiguous but over-lap. Prometheus, an adu l t , i s based on the image of a c h i l d ; George, a c h i l d , contains the Newborn. S i m i l a r l y , the Newborn w i l l be demonstrated to contain both the form and the content of the next work in the se r ies . Thus i t appears that Brancusi is appealing not to reason, which separates, but rather to i n tu i t i on which can grasp the cont inui ty which underl ies d i s t i n c t forms. The l ink between Brancusi 's discourse on the aging process of adult - ch i l d - in fan t - embryo and Bergson's theories goes beyond the opposit ion between i n tu i t i on and reason. A more precise correspondence ex is ts which accounts for Brancusi 's overlapping ser ies of s ta tes. Bergson observes in Creative Evolut ion: 85 Like the universe as a whole, l i ke each conscious being taken separate ly, the organism which l i ves i s a thing that endures. Its past, in i t s en t i re ty , i s prolonged into i t s present, and abides there actual and ac t ing . How otherwise could be understood that i t passes through d i s t i n c t and well-marked phases, that i t changes i t s age—in shor t , t h a t . i t has a history? If I consider my body in pa r t i cu l a r , I f ind that , l i ke my consciousness, i t matures l i t t l e by l i t t l e from infancy to old age . . . 2 ^ b In shor t , what i s properly v i t a l in growing old i s the insens ib le , i n f i n i t e l y graduated continuance of form. . . . Does the state of a l i v i n g body f ind i t s complete explanation in the state immed-ia te l y before . . . [no] a l l the past of the organism must be added to that moment. Continuity of change, preservation of the past in the present, real duration—the l i v i n g being seems, then, to share these at t r ibutes with consciousness.24c Thus Brancusi seems to draw on an idea from Rodin, but transforms i t by t rans la t ing i t through Bergson. He a l s o , however, gives i t his own s l an t , in that th is s e r i e s , l i k e the K i s s , denies the unpleasant r ea l i t y of death. Unlike Rodin's work, which is "a modern momento mori , remind-ing man of the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of death . . . the unremitting passage of t ime," Brancusi 's Prometheus does not age, nor does he continue the process of ind iv iduat ion and d i f f e ren t ia t i on from the Newborn. Rather, his form returns to that of the Newborn, jus t as in his mythic form, he i s caught in the continual process of regeneration. Both the form which Brancusi gave to Prometheus and his immortality avert the problem of death by turning the aging process back on i t s e l f . Time i s once again defeated. Nonetheless, th is process gives expectations of the next step in the se r ies . Adult - infant - newborn, as has been s a i d , implies the presence of an embryo. Indeed, Bergson's ent i re d iscussion of aging is re lated to the growth of the embryo, the subject of reproduction and the emergence of the d i f fe ren t ia ted out of the non-d i f ferent ia ted. 86 The expectation of an embryo i s confirmed by a para l le l movement in the ser ies through progressive transformation from a r t i s t i c creat ion and the sacred to sexual creat ion and the profane. The ser ies began with the sacred subl imited in the form of the sexual (the Muse). By th is means Brancusi obscured the dif ferences between them. Now, however, the element of sexual creat ion i s becoming d i s t i nc t and separate. By reversing the s e r i e s , however, we can see how the terms designating each are in turn becoming increasingly ind is t ingu ishab le , so that as the two concepts become more e x p l i c i t and d i s t i n c t , the opposit ion remains d i s -guised and one i s s t i l l transformable into the form of the other. In addi t ion to th is expectat ion, i t must also be remembered that the phi losophical paradoxes and dua l i t i es present in the key works of the Kiss and the Muse have not yet been t o t a l l y resolved. The basic problem of elan v i t a l e , i . e , the dual i ty between l i f e and matter, has not yet been overcome in sexual terms, although i t has been resolved in mythological terms. In add i t ion , the dua l i ty between the continuous and the discontinuous has only been stated in incomplete form, never by i t s e l f . The transformations of the f i r s t ser ies terminate in the Sculpture  fo r the Bl ind of 1916. A second version of th is conception, from 1920, i s t i t l e d Beginning of the World. Although s l i g h t l y d i f fe rent in dimen-s ions , proportions and nuance Of sur face, each version consists of a pur i f ied ovo id , devoid of def ining surface a r t i c u l a t i o n . The form is 25 whole, se l f -enc losed , non-d i f fe rent ia ted, and ambiguous. It has been 26 read var iously as an egg, an embryo, a head and a pebble. As w i l l be seen, i t s v isual as opposed to i t s s t ructura l ambiguity, i s of 87 fundamental importance to i t s s ign i f icance in the se r ies . The re la t ionsh ip between the Newborn and Sculpture for the Bl ind operates on both a metaphorical and metonymical l e v e l . The l a t t e r ' s non-di f ferent iated unity l o g i c a l l y fol lows the formal progression towards abstract ion which saw the representational George transformed in the 27 s imp l i f i ed Newborn. Sculpture for the Bl ind appears as the Newborn with the minimal surface a r t i cu la t i on ob l i te ra ted . I f the Newborn's eye and mouth motifs imply f i r s t contact with the outer empir ical world and d i f fe ren t ia ted l i gh t and sound, the Sculpture for the Bl ind implies the non-sensory perception of the non-empirical world and the unity of the inner dark and s i l e n t womb. I ts t i t l e contains the idea of darkness not otherwise expressed in the form. Reading i t as an embryo would thus be l o g i c a l l y consistent as well as v i sua l l y evident. Sculpture for the Bl ind is the Newborn before i t was born. Content and form must, however, be complementary. The embryonic image must be conceptually non-di f ferent iated in Brancusi 's system as well as formally non-d i f ferent ia ted. This again appears to be the case i f Bergson's conception of the embryo as expressed in Creative Evolution i s taken into account. Bergson spends some time on the problem and indicates that observation ' . . . shows that up to a cer ta in period in i t s development the embryo of the b i rd i s hardly d is t inguishable from that of the rep-t i l e , and that the ind iv idual develops, throughout the embryonic l i f e in genera l , a ser ies of transformations comparable to those through which, according to the theory of evo lu t ion, one species passes into another. A s ing le c e l l , the resu l t of a combination of two c e l l s , male and female, accomplishes th is work by d i v id ing . Every day, before our eyes, the highest forms of l i f e are spr ing-ing from a very elementary form."28 88 Although Bergson's theories on the evolut ion of the embryo may no longer be v a l i d , at the time they were widely accepted and indicate that Brancusi would have thought along s im i la r l i n e s , that i s , he would have conceived of the embryo as a non-di f ferent iated c e l l s p l i t t i n g , and transforming i t s e l f into a d i f fe ren t ia ted i nd i v i dua l . The log ic of the present in terpretat ion i s supported by the formal transformations from d i f fe ren t ia t i on to non-d i f ferent ia t ion which corres-pond to a regression from adult to ch i l d to infant to embryo, and when taken in a larger context which includes the Muse, from the sacred to the profane and from a r t i s t i c to sexual c reat ion. The ovoid of Sculpture for  the Bl ind terminates the temporal transformation with another t imeless, eternal image. The synchronic i s again given precedence over the diachronic. The key elements of inner darkness, womb, and embryo inferred from the form were e x p l i c i t l y present when the work was shown in New York, about 1917. H.P. Roche* states that i t was kept in a leather bag with 29 sleeves through which to put the arms. The darkness of the enclosed sack implies a womb—i.e., female sexual creat ive po ten t ia l . S i m i l a r l y , the sculpture in the bag might be read as a statement on male sexual 30 generative power, i . e . , a t e s t i c l e . The conjunction of both egg and t e s t i c l e create embryo in womb; the image is thus both formally and causal ly se l f -conta ined. I t becomes i t s own " f i r s t cause" on both a metonymical and metaphorical l e v e l . This p r inc ip le has been grasped by 31 Geist who referred to the work as a "metaphorical egg of c rea t ion . " This view i s i n s u f f i c i e n t , however, and these interpretat ions are eas i l y 89 dismissed as subject ive or poet ic . Nonetheless, they are substantiated when the ambiguities of the image and i t s place in the ser ies are system-a t i c a l l y analysed. In f ac t , Bergson again supplies us with a model for viewing the embryo as both-male and female, or sexual ly non-d i f ferent ia ted. . . . i t i s only in exceptional cases that there are any signs of sexual glands at the time of segmentation of the f e r t i l i z e d egg. But though the c e l l s that engender the sexual elements do not general ly appear at the beginning of the embryonic l i f e , i t i s none the less true that they are always formed out of those t issues of the embryo which have not undergone any par t i cu la r funct ional d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , and whose c e l l s are made up of unmodified proto-plasm. In other words, the genetic power of the f e r t i l i z e d ovum weakens, the more i t is spread over the growing mass of the t issues of the embryo; but while i t i s being thus d i l a t e d , i t i s concentrat-ing anew, something of i t s e l f in a cer ta in special po in t , to w i t , the ce l l s from which the ova or spermatozoa w i l l deve lop . 3 2 Further along he s ta tes , "Not only i s fecundation i t s e l f the same in higher plants and in animals, since i t consists in both in the union of two nuceli that d i f f e r in the i r propert ies and structure before t he i r 33 union and immediately a f ter become equivalent to each other . . . " To the extent that th is in terpretat ion of Sculpture for the Bl ind holds t rue , the re la t ionships between i t and the key works—the Muse and the Kiss—also become c lea r . A formal resemblance based on the common ovoids establ ishes a re la t ionsh ip between the. f i r s t two. The formal s i m i l a r i t y obscures the i r thematic opposi t ion. The egg/brain of the Muse is the basis of a r t i s t i c c rea t ion , Sculpture for the Bl ind is the ult imate image of sexual c reat ion. The one operates in the higher sacred realm of mythology, the other in the inner , profane world of the womb. Given the placement of each, one before Prometheus, one af ter the Newborn, each should (and does) l o g i c a l l y occupy a posi t ion at each end 90 of the two major axes between the sacred and profane, and a r t i s t i c and sexual c reat ion. As has been i l l u s t r a t e d , however, these oppositions have been resolved, or at least obscured, through mediating elements which operate through a ser ies of v isual and conceptual transformations. The sexual content of Sculpture for the Bl ind also implies a d i rec t re la t ionsh ip to the K i s s . This i s not, however, evident from any immed-i a te l y d iscern ib le formal s i m i l a r i t y . Nevertheless, Sculpture for the  Bl ind i s the resolut ion to the Bergsonian paradox of 61an v i t a l e con-tained in the K i ss . The problem is solved in terms of f i r s t causes: an egg/embryo/ test ic le, both creator and created, invests mater ia l , or stone ( i . e . , i t s form as a pebble?) with l i f e . Stone love rs , male and female, produce a f e r t i l e stone egg which combines the essent ia l features of both sexes. Levi-Strauss has indicated that prec ise ly th is problem and th is so lut ion are to be found in other mythological systems. He indicates that the Oedipus myth solves the problem of how to f ind a sa t is fac tory t rans i t i on between th is theory [of the autochthonous or ig in of man] and the knowledge that human beings are ac tua l ly born from the union of man and woman. Although the problem obviously cannot be so lved, the Oedipus myth provides a kind of log ica l tool which re lates the or ig ina l problem—born from one or born from two?—to the der ivat ive problem: born from d i f fe rent or born from same?"34 Indeed, both the Kiss and the Sculpture for the Bl ind state and solve th is same problem of the paradox of a s ingle being coming from the union of two others. In th is case l i f e infuses material through both sexual act ion and the creat ive forces of the a r t i s t . Thus the sacred and the profane, the material and l i f e fo rce , a r t i s t i c and sexual creat ion are un i f ied in the ambiguous imagery of the egg-shape. 91 Mate r ia l i t y is not the only opposite to l i fe—death or the return of the l i v i n g body to iner t mater ia l , is another. Its presence was recorded in the Montparnasse K iss . Brancusi confirmed a reference to morta l i ty when he said of Sculpture for the Bl ind '"I put my cu r ios i t y of the unknowable into i t—an egg where l i t t l e cubes seethe, a human 35 s k u l l . ' " The ovoid resolves a l l the oppositions of the K iss . Taking into account the work we have seen thus f a r , there should then ex is t a formal conjunction between the two. Despite the fact that i t seems highly un l i ke l y , one does, in f ac t , ex i s t . Brancusi establ ished a connection in a humorous l i t t l e piece in which he painted the image of the Kiss four times d i r ec t l y onto an egg. Thus the ser ies seems to have completed i t s e l f . It has returned to i t s o r i g ins . The years taken to create i t have been bracketed, time has been suppressed. Yet despite the apparent termination of the se r i es , loose ends appear in aspects of ind iv idual works which are not resolved in terms of binary oppositions or log ica l equations. This resul ts from the fact that the ser ies seen so far is only a part of the t o t a l i t y , and forms only one category of works. Despite the resolut ion of cer ta in problems, the information i t of fers through i t s internal re la t ionships i s fragmentary. Immediately noticeable as unresolved are the conjunc-t ion of consciousness and su f fe r ing , in the absence of j oy , and the male-ness of George and Prometheus, in the absence of females. As w e l l , the scream of the profane Newborn has no correspondence on the sacred l e v e l . Logical inconsistencies in a phi losophical system inva l idate i t s conclu-s ions. I f Brancusi 's system is to maintain i t s coherency and i n t e g r i t y , the f i r s t ser ies must be re lated to others in such a manner that these problems are overcome. 91 A 1916 Figure 1 92 Footnotes: Chapter III 1. Lev i -S t rauss , La Voie des Masques, ed i t ion revue, augmentee, et rallongee de t ro i s excursions (Par is : P lon , 1979), pp. 59-60. 2. Bergson, Matiere and Creative Evolution (London: Macmillan, 1913) ( t rans lat ion by A. M i t che l l ) . Note that Brancusi had the 1914 French ed i t ion in his l i b r a r y , but the above authorized t rans la -t ion w i l l be used here. 3. Bergson, Matiere, p. 1. 4. s Creat ive , p..136. 4a. I b i d . , p. 141. 4b. I b i d . , p. 11. 5. The Stud io ' Vo l . 43, 1908, pp. 324-325. 5a. Jacques de Caso and Pa t r i c i a B. Sanders, Rodin's Sculptures (Rutland, Vermont:. Charles E. Tu t t l e , 1977) pp. 49-50. 6. Both Tucker and Krauss have observed th is qua l i t y . See Tucker, p. 46 and Krauss, p. 86. 7. For a fur ther discussion on the opposit ion between nature and cul ture as expressed in terms of the grooming of h a i r , see Lev i -Strauss, "The Bear and the Barber," in Journal of the Royal  Anthropological I ns t i t u te , January-June, 1963, pp. 1-11, esp. p. 1. 7a. This v isual pun is e x p l i c i t in the Danaide of 1907, a work outside the s e r i e s , but nonetheless pro to typ ica l . 8. Bergson, Creat ive , pp. 116-117. 9. Cf. Bergson, Mat iere, pp. 15-16. Furthermore, to cas t , as in statues or busts, is mouler, o r , in the f i r s t person s ingu la r , je moule. 10. Geist has frequently noted the humor underlying much of Brancusi 's work. See Ge is t , 1975, p. 19, for example. 11. In the f i n a l analysis th is opposit ion may be car r ied fur ther . Rodin was associated with mater ia l i t y and u l t imately The Descent  into He!1. In keeping with the v is ion of himself as the opposite of Rodin (and fol lowing Bergson), Brancusi u l t imately aspires to the sky and the s p i r i t u a l . 93 12. Leach, pp. 70-75. 13. Bergson, Creat ive, pp. 1-4, and passim. 14. I b i d . , pp. 3-4. 15. Compare, fo r example, his e a r l i e r Torment in which the handling of the clay seems to convey much of the anguish of the subject. 15a. Johnson, p. 18. 16. Leach, p. 62. 17. Lev i -S t rauss , Structural Anthropology, p. 210. 17a. See i b i d . , pp. 211-230. 18. Thomas B u l l f i n c h , Bu l l f i n ch ' s Mythology (Feltham: Hamlyn, 1964), p. 14. 19. For a fur ther discussion of th is aspect of avant garde sculpture in France, pa r t i cu la r l y as expressed in Mai lTo l ' s monument to Blanqui , Act ion in Chains, see Ruth Bu t le r , Western Sculpture, Def in i t ions of Man (Boston: New York Graphic Soc ie ty , 1975), pp. 229-233. 20. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 105. 21. According to Ge is t , "The work releases a cer ta in humor, and then, by a reversal typ ica l of Brancusi , turns serious as i t suggests c e l l d i v i s i on and the shock of b i r t h . " Ge is t , 1968, p. 48. 22. Leach, p. 38. 23. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 12. 23a. Le*vi-Strauss, Elementary St ructures, p. 93. 23b. I b i d . , p. 94. 24. Cited in Lewis, p. 43. 24a. de Caso and Sanders, p. 55. 24b. Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 16. 24c. Ib id . , pp. 20-21. 24d. de Caso and Sanders, p. 55. 94 25. See Krauss, p. 86. 26. See Ge is t , 1969, p. 56. 27. This should not be thought of as a dr ive towards abstract ion pure and simple and thus as a paradigm for la te r developments by other a r t i s t s , as th is would not only disregard the complexit ies of the ent i re oeuvre, but also be denied by a l l of Brancusi 's la te r work and his own statements. 28. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 28. 29. Ge is t , 1969, p. 56. 30. This idea of egg / tes t i c le was suggested i nd i rec t l y by a passage in Lev i -St rauss, The Raw and the Cooked, p. 44. 31. Ge is t , 1975, p. 27. 32. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 28. 33. Ib id . , p. 62. 34. Lev i -St rauss, Structural Anthropology, p. 216. 35. Cited in Ge is t , 1969, p. 57. 36. Ge is t , 1978, p. 81, i l l u s t r a t i o n 63, date unknown. 95 CHAPTER IV Brancusi created a second ser ies of works which pa ra l l e l s the f i r s t , both l o g i c a l l y and chronolog ica l ly . This second ser ies also ar ises from the problems posed by the Kiss and the Muse of 1908/1909 and terminates in Sculpture for the B l i nd . It broaches the same phi losophical questions posed in the f i r s t , only i t responds to them in a d i f ferent fashion which place the two in d i rec t log ica l opposit ion as well as in correspondence to each other. The pair ing of p a r a l l e l , corresponding yet opposing units that are formal t rans- ~ formations of each other completes the non-resolved loose ends. I t also gives added s ign i f icance to the terms of the f i r s t ser ies by estab l ish ing addit ional semantic re la t ionsh ips . Most important, i t gives new ins ights into Brancusi 's working methods and his. thought processes. This second ser ies has not frequently been analyzed in other s tudies. I t consists of those heads created between 1908 and 1916 and not included in the f i r s t se r ies . They have, aside from th is negative categor izat ion, several features which l ink them metaphorically and estab l ish them as a se r ies : they are a l l female, and a l l erect rather than ly ing on the i r s ide . A c loser s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis again, reveals , however, that the i r semantic re la t ionships to each other are more complex than the i r formal s i m i l a r i t y impl ies. Brancusi i n i t i a t e d the second ser ies of heads by of fer ing an a l te rnat ive conception of the Muse. Although the f ac ia l features are s im i la r in each, the head of the second Muse i s upright and supported by the addit ion of a neck, shoulder and hands. An immediate contrast between the hor izon ta l and the ve r t i c l e composition of each is unmistakeable. The opposit ion in composition implies a further opposit ion in the state of consciousness and movement. Although the eyes are again effaced and the f igure seemingly in repose, the upright Muse is po ten t ia l l y a le r t and ready for ac t ion . I t has been noted that , in Bergson's phi losophical system, the conscious mind works on the environment through the nervous system which i s , in turn , centred in the spinal column and the body. The upright Muse, unl ike the f i r s t , has the torso and limbs necessary to e f fect th is movement. The addi t ional elements conceptually complement the impl icat ion of the composition, and serve a greater purpose than merely to hold the f igure up. I t becomes apparent that the two Muses are both semantic opposites and apposites in terms of both form and content. Their pa ra l le l themes and formal s i m i l a r i t y are close enough to e f fec t i ve ly obscur the i r di f ferences, and allow an easy conceptual passage between the opposi t ions. This i s enhanced by the i r common point of o r i g i n , the Sleeper. As w i l l . b e demonstrated, the re la t ionsh ip between these works begins to estab l ish a paradigm that w i l l hold true for each of the works in the remainder of the ser ies and w i l l supply a model for the resolut ion to Brancusi 's sculptural and phi losophical problems. For example, i f th'e second Muse is both para l le l and opposi-t ional to the f i r s t , then i t would fol low that the work which springs from.the second Muse must also be para l le l and opposit ional to the work which fol lows the f i r s t , i . e . Prometheus.. These re la t i on -ships may be expressed diagramat ical ly . Ki ss I. , Sleeper ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Muse-j ; • Muse,, I Prometheus — I George •— — —— etc . e tc . The expectations establ ished by these re lat ionships are, in f a c t , f u l f i l l e d by the Danaide of 1910.. Brancusi 's f i r s t version of the Danaide was in marble. I t was followed by a ser ies of casts in bronze. The or ig ina l marble was reworked about 1925, when the •facial features were removed. The or ig ina l form:was preserved, however, in the bronze casts . TWO' s t y l i zed curves transverse the front of the orb of the head. They form the suggestion.of 1arge eyes. A small nose emerges from the juncture of the shallow planes on which the eyes are s i tua ted. The execution of these features i s character-i s t i c a l l y economical, and fol lows very .c lose ly the features of the Muses. The chignon of the l a t t e r has also been included in a t rans-formed state that i s again.more, s t y l i zed and abstracted. The neck and shoulders of the upright Muse have been reduced to a minimal form, suggestive rather than i nd i ca t i ve , of the i r presence. The transformations which character ize the formal re lat ionships between the upright Muse and the Danaide lead to the expectation of s im i la r correspondences on the conceptual l e v e l . These ex i s t . The Muse mediates between man and the gods, the sacred and the profane. The Danaides-, as pr iestesses perform a s im i la r funct ion. The Muse also mediates between the world of l i gh t and that of dark-ness. S im i la r l y the Danaides, as w i l l be shown, mediate between th is world and the world of shadows—the underworld. The Muses contain a referent to sexual creat ion in the i r ovoid-shape. The Danaides also re fer to sexual a c t i v i t y , only in i t s denial rather than i t s f u l f i l l m e n t . The conceptual transformations, oppositions and para l le l s only become c l ea r , however, when the myth i t s e l f is examined. I t i s here a l so , that the re lat ionships between the Danaide and Prometheus can be found. The Danaide myth i s less well known in English cul ture than Prometheus. This i s not the.case in France where i t has entered the popular vocabulary. Henri-Paul Jacques, who has studied the psychological impl icat ions of the Danaid story s ta tes : Le myth des Danaides es t , a v e c c e l u i de Pandore, parmi les mythes grecs les plus connus. dans le monde occ identa l . La langue franchise .possede " l a boite Pandore," e l l e a aussi " l e tonneau des Danaides."1-I t w i l l be reca l led that Pandora was the f i r s t woman, the gods' g i f t to the men created by Prometheus and that i t was from her box that the torments that i n f l i c t the world emerged. C i t ing the Nouveau Pe t i t Larousse I l l us t re (1952) Jacques con-t inues. On compare au •torineau des Dana'i'des un .coeun dont r ien ne remplit les des i r s , un prodigue qui d iss ipe a mesure q u ' i l rego i t , etc.2 The h i s to r i ca l evolution of the Danaid myth as perceived by scholars i s complex, and in many.cases contradictory. The essent ia l elements of the myth on which everyone seems to agree have, however, been iso la ted by Jacques,. Les Danaides etaient les cinquante f i l l e s de Danaos. Persuadees, ou obl igees, de prendre pour epoux les cinquante f i l s d'Egyptos, leur oncle paternel , e l l es se. l iberent en assassinant leur maris la nuitmeme de leurs no.ces. E l les decapiterent les cadavres des jeunes..gens et jeterent les tetes dans le^marais de Lerne, en Argol ide^ ^Hypermestre avai t ete la seule a s 1 abstenir„du crime et a epargner son mar i , Lyncee. Toutes les autres, sauf e l l e , furent condamnees, aux enfers , en expiat ion de leur acte impie, a remplir sans arret avec le I'eau une jar re percee.3 The myth, as i t was being discussed in France during the f i r s t years of th is century, and would have probably have been known to Brancusi , had some addi t ional and s ign i f i can t embellishments. In 4 th i s vers ion , the Danaides remained v i r g i ns . This has, as w i l l be seen, added to Jacque's in terpretat ion of the j a r and the flowing l iqu ids which seem to be. the i r c l ass i ca l iconographic reference as found in Greek pottery and I ta l ian funerary monuments. I t w i l l a lso be important to th is analysis and gives an ins ight into Brancusi 's 5 treatment of the subject. 100 As Jacques points out, the Danaide1 myth f a l l s eas i l y into two segments—the double crime and: the punishment. S t ruc tu ra l l y , the myth pa ra l l e l s that .of Prometheus which fol lows a s im i la r pattern of offense against the gods through, the breaking of a taboo, followed by eternal and c y c l i c punishment. This i s , of course, only the most overt example of the pa ra l l e l s between them and the i r symmetrical s t ructure. Both myths, Tike the Muse, contain references to sexual fu l f i lment . In f ac t , this, w i l l be found to character ize every mytho-log ica l reference Brancusi makes: In th is respect, both Prometheus and the Danaide myths have been .treated by Freudian ana lys is . Abrahams study on Prometheus RJve et Mythe appeared in 1909.^ Certain conceptual correspondences indicate that i t may have had some impact on Brancusi , although th is remains undocumented and w i l l not be explored here. The.study is important for other reasons. The Danaide myth has more recent ly been examined by means of a Freudian methodology in the study by Jacques, c i ted above. Abraham indicates that the f i r e of Prometheus may represent the power of sexual generation. "The oldest form of . the Prometheus saga i s an apotheosis of the human power of generat ion."^ He points out " . . . the rod boring in the wooden d i s c , i s the nucleus of the oldest g form of the Prometheus saga." The s t i ck i s seen as a symbol of male sexual power, the d isc for female. "As f i r e i s produced by the boring of a s t i ck in a disc of wood so i s human l i f e created in the mother's 9 womb." Although nei ther his methodology, nor his h istory may be prec ise , Abraham's observations coincide with Jacques' in terpretat ion • 101 of the Danaide's symbolic assoc ia t ions. Using: a .s im i la r methodology, Jacques sees the v i rg in Danaide's vases as symbols for wombs. That they are punctured, represents the symbolic consummation of the marriage r i t e s . The water flowing from the vases is interpreted*as masculine, a metaphor for semen. They thus symbol ical ly reenact for a l l . time the sexual encounter they res i s ted . I t i s impossible, at th is po int , to prove Brancusi 1 s awareness of the f i r s t analysis and we can be pos i t ive that he did not know of the second. The purpose in summarizing them here was not to postulate a possible source of insp i ra t ion or to give Brancusi 's work a Freudian tw is t , but rather to point out. an underlying s i m i l a r i t y in the two myths that i s not necessar i ly evident in the narrat ive themselves. Both s to r ies are thematical ly re la ted: they concern sexual pro-creat ion. Furthermore, both myths are s t ruc tu ra l l y para l le l i f examined from the point of t he i r re la t ion within French cu l tu re , i . e . s ta r t ing with Pandora and the Danaides, which are joined as has been shown, by the i r pa ra l le l and popular symbols of the box and the ba r re l . In c l ass i ca l mythology Pandora was the g i f t in marriage to man from the gods. The Danaides, as preistesses ( i . e . also par t ly sacred) were a g i f t in marriage to the nephews of Egyptos. The two s tor ies have a symmetrical o r i g i n . The sexual referent found in the i r associated symbols i s made e x p l i c i t in the story. With Pandora, i . e . the f i r s t woman, sexual ac t i v i t y ;beg ins and hence profane procreation (as opposed to Prometheus' d iv ine creation of man). L i f e 102 as a cycle of b i r th and death i s s tar ted. On the other hand, with the Danaides, sexual a c t i v i t y and profane procreation are denied and the death and destruction of man is the resu l t . The f i rs t 'myth creates the ro le of marriage and the g i f t of woman in the i n s t i t u t i o n , the second denies the ro le of marriage and withholds the g i f t . The f i r s t , through Prometheus, symbolized the creat ive power of men, the second, through r i t ua l and symbolic cas t ra t ion , i . e . the beheading of the grooms, denies the creat ive power of men. Pandora, as w i fe , is fecund, the Danaides, as v i r g i n s , are barren and die that way. Their symbols are often found on the graves of unmarried women. The two myths are thus inversely symmetrical. They are d i rect opposite or mirror images in the i r exposi t ions. Each episode,, however, returns to the symmetry of i t s openings by terminating in punishment that involves a r i t u a l , c y c l i c and perennial reenactment of regeneration and pro-creat ion. Other aspects could also be analyzed which would enhance th is s imp l i f i ed s t r uc tu ra l i s t ou t l ine . These inc lude, for example, a pa ra l l e l move from l i gh t to darkness or from th is world to a world of punishment, an underworld. The b r ie f analysis given here, w i l l however, su f f i ce to point out the underlying re la t ionship between the myths and the i r place and operation in Brancusi 's sculptural system. The dual re la t ionship .of the respective myths, at once para l le l and oppos i t iona l , leads to the expectation of a s im i l a r re la t ionship in Brancusi 's formal representation of the Danaide and the Prometheus. Th is , in fac t , occurs and has been recorded by most observers. Both 103 works are based on an orb, rather than an ovoid, and are,, hence, equally d ist inguishable from the form of the Muses.. Both orb shapes have a minimal amount of surface a r t i cu la t i on s ign i fy ing faces. In each case, the orb i s enhanced with the addit ion of a neck. As has been pointed out, however, the Danaide i s upright and female, and thus in opposit ion to the Prometheus. The conceptual and.formal re lat ionships between the two confirm the observat ion, f i r s t made evident by a s im i la r re la t ionsh ip between the two Muses, that Brancusi" created two ser ies of heads in which-each unit has a para l le l yet opposing conception. He 'seems to have conceived these heads in pa i rs . Brancusi synthesized the formal elements of the upright Muse and Danaide and transformed them into a por t ra i t of Mi le Pogany in 1912. The s t y l i zed f ac ia l features and chignon of the Danaide were wedded to the shoulders and arms of the MuseJ^ The form of Mi le Pogany's head l i e s somewhere between an orb and an ovoid. Although synthet ic in conception, the l a t t e r i s a unique and un i f ied image.^ A pattern of development can now be perceived.. It i s becoming apparent that Brancusi was conceiving his works in two p a r a l l e l , symmetrical yet opposing se r ies . An underlying log ica l progression has been seen to be at work. If the analysis is cor rect , then a coherent re la t ionsh ip must occur.between the Mi le Pogany and the corresponding work in the opposing yet p a r a l l e l se r ies . Mi le Pogany fol lows the 'Danaide. The Danaide corresponds to Prometheus, George fol lows Prometheus. Therefore Mi le Pogany must correspond to George in both form and content i f the axis of symmetrical development i s to hold t rue. 104 The f i r s t evidence of correspondence between the Mile Pogany and George l i e s in t he i r t i t l es—they are both proper names of humans, designating that each work, despite i t s s t y l i za t i on or s imp l i f i ca t i on of forms, i s a po r t ra i t . They are unique in th is category so fa r . The use of proper names has, however, an addi t ional importance in "pr imi t i ve" systems of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . Proper names, l i k e po r t r a i t s , 12 designate maximized d i f f e ren t i a t i on - i n any system. They form a category beyond which i t is impossible to proceed to f i ne r d i v i s i ons . I t has been shown in the f i r s t ser ies that the sculpture fol lowing George—the Newborn—moved to a stage of generalized non-di f ferent-i a t i o n , both in i t s form and i t s t i t l e . A s im i l a r and para l le l development w i l l be seen to.occur fo l lowing Mile Pogany. In addit ion to s ign i fy ing s p e c i f i c i nd i v idua l s , the t i t l e s of both Mlle Pogany and George also indicate a para l le l and symmetrical progression in both ser ies from the sacred and the mythological realm of the works preceding them to the profane. The names.are of humans, not of gods. The ambiguous dual- nature of Prometheus as ch i ld /god, combined with the equal ly ambiguous nature of chi ldren served as an operator in the conceptual transformation between the males,. S i m i l a r l y , the dual nature of the Danaides as woman/priestesses and the ambiguous nature of woman as conceived in the ear ly part of the century allow for a s im i la r transformation in the female se r i es . In discussing the female f igure in Rodin's L 'E te rne l le Idole, de Caso and Sanders point out "the t i t l e . . . re f l ec ts an at t i tude towards woman expressed in nineteenth-century poetry,, where women are frequently described as 105 i d o l s . " In support of t h i s they c i ted Baudelaire 's "Chanson d'apres-mid i . " "Je t ' adore , o ma fr ivole., /Ma t e r r i b l e passion "./Avec l a devotion/Du pretre pour son i d o l e . " ^ 3 Thus, the female insp i ra t ion for art partakes of the sacred,and serves as a t rans i t ion from that realm to the profane in a manner that pa ra l le l s that of George. This correspondence may be car r ied fur ther . It was indicated that ch i l d ren , in the i r uncultured s ta te , are close to nature, the univer-sal and the continuous. Women also were seen in the second hal f of the nineteenth century as close to the wildness of nature. As de Caso and Sanders also state in discussing Rodin's Three Faunesses, " . . . a conception of woman as p r im i t i ve , ins t inc tua l and animal-l i k e was a product of Romantic l i t e r a t u r e , but i t became prominent in art only in the second hal f of the century......... . . His pr imi t ive . . . fauns are symbols of primal emotions which long ago l inked man •J £ k more c lose ly with nature." Thus, although both works are of spec i f i c people, t he i r subjects move into a transformative ambiguous realm. The conceptual correspondence in the ser ia l progression in which Mile-Pogany and George par t ic ipa te must also be confirmed by a s i m i l a r i t y of forms i f the system is to maintain the coherence seen thus fa r . This too, may be found by a comparison of the two po r t ra i t s . This comparison has been largely overlooked, possibly due to the s t y l i s t i c and sexual di f ference between the two works which were, however, created within a year of each other. Each work i s composed o f ident ica lVanatomica l elements—head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Furthermore the configuration, of these elements i s 106 in each i d e n t i c a l . The arms are joined so that the hands are clasped under the cheek, covering one ear, while the other remains exposed. The arms are separated from the head by a demarcating i n c i s i o n . The bottom edges: under the arms and shoulders in both are roughly textured. The shoulders and neck are , by contrast , smooth planes. The fac ia l features are simpl i f ied,^ a lbe i t more s t y l i zed in the Mile Pogany. Allowing for the dif ferences in the subject 's ages and sex, i t seems the two works could not be c loser in composition and s t i l l maintain the i r d i s t i nc t i d e n t i t i e s . Like the re la t ionsh ip between the myths of. the Danaide and Prometheus, however, George and Mile Pogany are both symmetrical and inver ted. Brancusi has arranged the forms of each as mirror images, rather than duplicates of the other.. While George's hands rest under his r ight cheek, Mi le Pogany's are clasped under her l e f t . The works are both apposites and opposites. The formal s i m i l a r i t i e s al low for a conceptual transformation between the i r contradictory elements. This opposit ion is confirmed by the other aspects of the sculpture.. Mile Pogany i s female, George i s male. Mi le Pogany is upr ight, rather than recumbent,; her eyes are open, not closed and she i s , probably, l i k e the Dandaides, the object of sexual desire rather than the product of i t . A l l of these elements form a precise opposit ion between the two sculptures, and could a l l equally be appl ied to the re la t ionsh ip between Prometheus and the Danaides. 107 The re lat ionships along the ver t i ca l axis are as symmetrical as those on the horizontal—the transformations, between the Danaids and Mi le Pogany is s im i la r to that between Prometheus and George. Both ser ies progress in a symmetrical arrangement, and are coherent and para l le l in development. As has been ind icated, both pairs'move from the sacred and mythological realm involv ing aspects of e tern i ty to the profane and the temporal. In so doing, human sexual i ty becomes more e x p l i c i t , rather than i m p l i c i t . Rather than viewing e i ther the creation or the eternal symbolic.re-enactment of sexual i ty or regenera-t ion in a mythological t imeless realm, we are confronted with i t in a spec i f i c and immediate and temporal:sense. I t w i l l be assumed that Brancusi 's a t t rac t ion to Mile Pogany was not purely P la ton ic . How-ever, the t i t l e Mi le Pogany ind icates her unmarried s ta te . She thus stands at the threshold between the sexual and the nonsexual, as well as standing between the sacred and the profane. The log ic of the system.and the terms with which i t operates and Brancusi 's method of expression through a ser ies of symmetrical developments, and transformations allows a predict ion about both the form and the content of the next work in the se r i es . 108 Muse Prometheus George  Newborn -Sculpture for  the B l ind The next work in the ser ies fol lowing Mile Pogany must corres-pond to the Newborn, which fol lows George. The Newborn and th is work must therefore possess several pa ra l le l thematic and formal features. I t has been observed that the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ; of person corresponds in each s e r i e s , i.e.. god.: god, Proper name .: proper name. The New- born is a non-di f ferent iated i nd i v i dua l . To correspond, the work fol lowing Mi le Pogany must also be a non-di f ferent iated i nd i v i dua l . Sexual i ty is also important. The Newborn is sexual ly non-d i f fer -ent ia ted. The corresponding work must share th is qua l i t y . Both works must also make e x p l i c i t the transformation from the sacred realm and a r t i s t i c creation to the profane level and sexual c reat ion. The new work, however, must not only contain these ideas, but also state them in terms of an opposit ion as well as an apposit ion Muse Danaide Mile Pogany 1 to the Newborn... I t was demonstrated, however, that the Newborn was formally s i m i l a r , yet conceptually the opposite to the Prometheus, and that at th is point the system began to turn back on i t s e l f . This must also occur with the work fol lowing Mile Pogany, I t must be formally s im i l a r yet conceptually opposite to the Danaides. This formal correspondence can be carr ied fur ther . The work must be s t y l i zed rather than abstracted or representational and must also be an elaboration, of an ovoid. To continue the format seen thus far in the second s e r i e s , which dist inguishes and d i rec t l y opposes i t to the f i r s t , the new work must'be ver t i ca l rather than horizontal and express joy and pleasure rather than su f fe r ing . As chronological sequence has so far supported log ica l progression, i t should have been executed about 1915. Without such a complex of q u a l i t i e s , the work could not be properly said to occupy the next place in th is ser ies of female heads.. On the other hand, the chances against them occurring co inc identa l ly or randomly are mathematically overwhelming. Although the qua l i t i es of the work fol lowing Mile Pogany can be predicted in words, the f i na l form cannot. Brancusi answered the log ica l imperatives in his phi losophical and sculptural system with a b r i l l i a n t conception—Princess X of 1916. Geist reports that th is sculpture i s , l i ke Mi le Pogany, a por t ra i t of a spec i f i c 13 person. By suppressing the proper name Brancusi has s i gn i f i can t l y made the t i t l e nonspeci f ic , thereby f u l f i l l i n g the necessary c l a s s i -f i ca t i on of being, l i ke the Newborn, noniden.t i f iable as an ind iv idual The necessary formal . q u a l i t i e s are also present in Princess X: the n o work is s t y l i z e d , but not abstract , i t is erect and is based, in p r o f i l e , on a configurat ion of ovoids. The t i t l e d i rects our per-ception, to read the image as composed of an ovo.idal head, elongated neck, arm, and/or shoulder/breast—in shor t , a sensuous and almost voluptuous female shape. When seen in p r o f i l e , however, the form appears as the exact reverse: : a phalTic image. This v isual and sexual ambiguity, based again on a remarkable visual pun, must, despite 14 Ge is t ' s protest to the contrary, be seen as de l iberate . The unmis-takeable recognit ion led to the re ject ion^of the work from the 1920 Salon des Independents. From a d i f ferent perspect ive, i t becomes apparent that the sexual ambiguity present in Princess X corres-ponds to the sexual ly nondif ferent iated Newborn. Neither are e i ther male or female—although they approach genderlessness from opposite d i rec t i ons , the Newborn i s potent ia l ly both, the other i s e x p l i c i t l y and emphatically both. Thus, i n terms of sexual and personal i den t i t y , as wel l as form, Princess X is in opposition and apposit ion to the Newborn. The necessary symmetrical-aspects are present. The correspondence also functions in terms of metonymical sequence. The joined phallus and sensuous female are the cause, the Newborn • the e f f ec t , of sexual procreat ion. But th is re la t ionsh ip i s also oppos i t iona l . The reference in the Princess X i s to the pleasure of two joined ind iv iduals rather than the suf fer ing and the. separation of one. As the Newborn i s experiencing the f i r s t h in t of d i f f e ren t i a t i on , Princess. X sinks into ambiguity—both, however, hover on the edge of non-d i f fe ren t ia t ion . I l l This celebrat ion of sexual f u l f i l lmen t places the Princess X in d i rec t opposit ion to the Danaide, jus t as the Newborn was in d i rec t conceptual, opposit ion to the Prometheus. The para l le l s between the two ser ies are thus complete. They are undeniably isomorphic. The Princess X also hovers between the synchronic and the d ia -chronic. I t brackets time as well as sexua l i t y . I t i s expressed in forms that are almost mechanical in the i r p rec i s ion , and are thus embedded in Brancusi 's temporal era. On the other hand, the theme of a joined female/phallus pun.goes back to the Auregnacian period 15 of pre-h is tory . The next l o g i c a l , chronological and formaT.transformation in the ser ies of female heads fol lowing Princess X must possess several charac ter is t i cs i f the log ic of the system is to be preserved. In pa r t i cu l a r , i t must be more abst ract , more ambiguous and more non-d i f fe ren t ia ted . Only the Sculpture for the B l ind contains the necessary formaT and conceptual q u a l i t i e s . I t has already been dem-onstrated to form the termination of the ser ies of male heads. I f i t serves a s im i l a r function with the female s e r i e s , then i t must not only be able t o resolve the problems of both, but also operate as a t rans i t ion between the two pa ra l l e l and symmetrical yet opposing se r i es . Its conceptual ambiguity must overcome the antagonisms of the two groups. This can be demonstrated to be the case. In f a c t , when Sculpture fo r the B l ind i s placed, between the two semantic chains which each become increasingly abstract with the Newborn ' i n one case and.Princess X in the other, i t s meaning i s not only 112 enhanced, but c l a r i f i e d . Simultaneously, th is semantic arrangement reinforces the conceptual symmetry between the Newborn and Princess X observed e a r l i e r . I t has been stated that the non-di f ferent iated ovoid of Sculpture  for the B1ind .may be interpreted as the sculptural equivalent, or metaphorical s i gn , for an egg, a t e s t i c l e or an embryo in a womb. The ambiguity of the form is precise semanti cal.ly in that i t d i s -t i l l s and combines the essent ia l yet opposing sexual elements of the two se r i es . I t can be used as a terminating, term in e i ther semantic chain. Simultaneously, as embryo, i t i s also sexual ly non-di f ferent iated and independent of them.. The re la t ionsh ip between these works can therefore be seen as both a metaphorical and metonymical transformation. Princess X i s a combination of a pha l l i c and female form. At the point of juncture of these two elements, that i s , coitus and sexual conception, an embryo i s produced: Sculpture for the B l i nd . As we fol low the equation along the transformative a x i s , we come to the l as t work in the previous se r i es : The Newborn which i s the manifesta-t ion of the embryo af ter b i r t h . The Sculpture for the B l ind thus mediates between these two works. Consequently, i t combines elements of both and i s independently, cause (as o v a r y / t e s t i c a l ) , potent ial (egg) and effect,(embryo). The mediation occurs on both a causal and temporal sequence. Thus, in mediating between the Princess X and the Newborn1, Sculpture for, the B l ind also mediates between and jo ins the two opposing yet p a r a l l e l se r i es . The existence of th is l ink forms the solut ion to the problem stated in the K i ss . Indeed, in re t ro-112 A Sculpture for  the Bl ind 1916 Figure 2 113 spect the jo in ing of the two groups seems l o g i c a l l y unavoidable, as does the existence of the small work c i ted e a r l i e r in which the image of the Kiss was painted d i rec t l y on an egg, thus l i nk ing Sculpture  for the Blind., and the f i r s t key work, and jo in ing the two pure geo-metric opposites:"block and ovoid. But while l o g i c a l l y i nev i tab le , i t i s h i s t o r i c a l l y unusual. Such a detached, e x p l i c i t and phi losophical view of sexual i ty i s highly uncommon in th is pre-war era. Such expressions would not emerge as a popular sculptural theme unt i l the la te 1920's with L i pch i t z ' s 16 The Couple, or the Su r rea l i s t objects. Brancusi thus emerges as somewhat o f .a pioneer in the f i e l d . Albert Elsen has noticed th is in a quotation c i ted e a r l i e r in a d i f ferent context, but worth repeating and enlarging. Primordial form was appropriate for a primal ac t . Henri Bergson may have been to Brancusi what Baudelaire was to Rodin. Bran-c u s i ' s art was responsive to the climate in P a r i s , inf luenced by Bergson, that saw l i f e as l i ved in the i r r a t i o n a l , expressed in v i t a l urges, and which .affirmed in tu i t i on .as a re l i ab le path to t ru th . His (Brancusi 's) s i nce r i t y and s imp l i c i t y of nature gave in tegr i t y and convict ion to his e ro t i c Birds in  Space, Torso of a Young:. Man, and Princess X. Erot ic ism was not a sub-sty le intended for a certa in pr ivate c l i e n t e l e , but the sincere and d i rect manifestation of the a r t i s t . Ear ly modern sculptors passed on to generations af ter the f i r s t war a.new candor and sophis t icat ion in t reat ing human sexual l i f e . 1 7 While Elsen 's comments may over s impl i fy both Brancusi and Bergson, jo in ing the two on the subject of reproduction gives an ins ight into both the source of Brancusi 's conceptions and the formal treatment of i t . Bergson, in Creative Evolut ion, i s quite e x p l i c i t on the subject. In f ac t , he employs a set of images which para l le l Brancusi 's sequence of sculptures p rec ise ly . Speaking of the " v i t a l 113 A Figure 3 114 p r inc ip le " and attempting to undermine anyconcept of absolute ind iv idua l ism, Bergson s ta tes : An organism such as a higher vertebrate i s the most i n d i v i -duated of a l l organisms; y e t , i f we take into account that i t i s only the development of an ovum forming part of the body of the mother and of a spermatazoon' belonging to the body of i t s fa ther , that the egg ( i . e . the ovum f e r t i l i z e d ) i s a con-necting l ink between the two progenitors since i t i s common to the i r two substances, we sha l l rea l i ze that every ind iv idual organism even that -of man, is merely a bud that sprouted in the combined body of both i t s parents. Where, then, does the v i t a l p r inc ip le of the indiv idual begin or end?18 While the f i r s t part of the quote gives a source for the subject .of the three works, the l a t t e r supplies a paradigm for the formal discussion of the problem of non-d i f ferent ia t ion and d i f f e r -en t ia t ion . Indeed, the sculptural solut ion to the problem Bergson poses at the end of the quote i s obviously: the v i t a l p r inc ip le of an indiv idual begins with the Newborn and ends in sexual repro-duct ion, with Princess X, or in other words (or in th is case forms) with Sculpture for the B l i nd . :ln th is context, i t should be reca l led that Bergson opposes sexual reproduction to the tendency to 19 ind iv idua l ism. Bergson re - i te ra tes that concept in the context of the statement by showing how i t favors a concept of l i f e which " . forms a s ingle whole.. . . and which co-ordinates not only the parts of an organism i t s e l f , but also each l i v i n g being with the co l l ec t i ve 20 whole of a l l o thers . " Sexual reproduction, in f ac t , l inks a l l l i f e : p lant , animal and human. The history of each can be traced back to the s p l i t t i n g of the f i r s t c e l l . This concept adds complexity to Brancusi 's Sculpture for the B l i nd . As a cosmic egg, i t should not only solve the problem of the or ig in of human l i f e but also that of 115 other species... Th is , in tu rn , leads d i rec t l y into the next two ser ies which dea l :prec ise ly with that of which Bergson speaks, animal l i f e . Reviewing the f i r s t two s e r i e s , i t becomes evident that they form a para l le l progression of re lated binary oppositions which are joined at both points of o r ig in and termination. Levi-Strauss offers a conceptual paradigm f o r th is type of s t ructura l arrangement. "Seq-uences arranged in transformation groups, as i f around a germinal molecule, jo in up with the i n i t i a l group and reproduce i t s structure 21 and determinative tendencies." The re lat ionships of the units also operate in accordance with Lev i -St rauss ' theories on "pr imi t ive thought." Brancusi uses p a r a l l e l s , transformations and opposit ions based on metaphorical and metonymical re la t ionsh ips , cod i f ied in units in semantic chains, to categorize and reconci le dua l i t i es and contradict ions inherent in empir ical r e a l i t y . As has been shown, th i s progression corresponds prec ise ly to Lev i -S t rauss 's theor ies. I t also re f lec ts ideas expressed, a lbe i t less sys temat ica l ly , by Bergson. Concepts . . . general ly go together in couples and represent two cont rar ies . There i s hardly any concrete r e a l i t y which cannot be observed from two opposing standpoints,-which cannot consequently be subsumed under two antagonist ic concepts. . Hence a thesis and an ant i thes is which we endeavor in vain to reconci le l o g i c a l l y , fo r the very simple reason that i t i s impossible, with concepts and observations taken from- outside points of view, to make a th ing. But from the object , seized by in tu i t i on , , we pass eas i l y in many cases to the two con-t rary concepts; and as in that way thesis and ant i thes is can be seen to spring from r e a l i t y , we grasp at the same time how i t is that the two are opposed and how they are reconci led. Mythological o r ig in of l i f e & sexual creat ion Mythological denial of l i f e & sexual creation 115 A Ofq Level of spec i f i c Result of sexual creat ion —agony Level of ambiguity Cause of sexual creat ion —pleasure Level of non-d i f ferent ia t ion Bergsonian ( s c i e n t i f i c or ig in) of l i f e Figure 4 116 It i s true that to accomplish t h i s , i t i s necessary to proceed by a reversal of the usual work of the i n te l l ec t . 22 Brancusi has, i t would seem, fol lowing Bergson, posed a set of re lated phi losophical and sculptural problems by stat ing them in terms of t h e s i s / a n t i t h e s i s , and resolv ing the contradict ion in an " i n t u i t i v e " concrete object synthesizing both. Brancusi has also used a reversal of normal l o g i c , i . e . the form of "pr imi t ive" thought. The sexual opposit ion between male and female was stated in the K iss . The two sexes were then separated in Prometheus and the Danaide, and given d i s t i nc t i den t i t i es in George and Mile Pogany. The Newborn and Princess X, on the other hand, disguised the dif ferences by the ambiguity of t he i r images and allow us to " . . . pass eas i l y . . . to the two contrary concepts" of male and female. F i n a l l y , the non-d i f fe rent ia ted Sculpture for the Bl ind synthesized the two aspects in a s ingle image. The ser ies can be seen to proceed ph i losophica l ly from the statement of a problem on d u a l i t i e s , through i t s exposit ion and the c l a r i f i c a t i o n of i t s terms, to i t s eventual resolut ion in a form of "concrete l og i c " which overcomes the contradict ion by d i s -guising and obscuring the d i f ferences. ) 117 Footnotes: Chapter IV 1. Henri-Paul Jacques, Mythologie et Psychanalyse, Le Chatiment  des Danaides (Ottawa: Lemeac, 1969), p. 39. ' ' ~ ~ ~ 2. Ib id. 3. I b i d . , pp. 40-41. 4. I b i d . , pp. 64-65. 5. In h i s t o r i ca l context, the sexual ly a t t rac t i ve female murderer/ beheader/castrator or femme fa ta le has played an important role in symbolist thought and iconography. Gustav Moreau, for example, executed paintings of both Salome and John the Bapt is t . It could also be noted that Moreau also painted a s t r i k i ng image of Prometheus. , It i s not, however, in these symbolist c i r c l e s that one needs to search in order to discover the s ign i f icance . of the Danaides to Brancusi. It i s rather the structure of the myth, i t s representation and i t s place in his sculptural oeuvre that are most reveal ing. Brancusi had, however, exper i -mented with a somewhat s im i la r theme at an e a r l i e r date. A photograph of his studio in 1905 shows a small representational study showing.a female res i s t i ng the advances of a male. 6. Karl Abraham, Dreams and Myths, a study in race psychology,, nervous and mental disease monograph no. 15 (New York: The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publ ishing Company, 1913). 7. I b i d . , p. 60. 8. I b i d . , p. 62.: 9. I b i d . , p. 29. 10. See Ge is t , 1969, p. 99. 11. Some problems seem to have occurred. Possibly d i s s a t i s f i e d with the f i r s t conf igurat ion, Brancusi ref ined the forms in 1919 and again in 1931. The a l tera t ions resulted in a t ighter con-cept ion; the elements which character ized the o r ig ina l were, however, preserved in each case. 118 12. See Lev i -St rauss, "The Individual as Species, " Chapter 7, in The Savage Mind, esp. pp. 200-216. T2a. de Caso and Sanders, p. 65 and p. 66 n. 5. 12b. I b i d . , p. 173. 13. A bronze version was shown as Princess Bonaparte at the Society . of Independent A r t i s t s , New York, Apr i l 10-May 6, 1917. Ge is t , 1975, p. 181. The t i t l e may thus well refer to the famous work by Canova, Pauline Bonaparte as Venus V i c t r i x of 1808 in the Ga l l e r i a Borghese, Rome, or i t may be the por t ra i t of a spec i f i c person a l i ve in Pa r i s . See Ge is t , 1969, p. 78. ' In e i ther case, what is important is that the name was subsequently omitted. 14. I b i d . , p. 78. 15. See Georges Ba ta i l i e ,Les Larmes d'Eros (Par is : Pauver, 1971). Esp. the '"Calembour p l a s t i c ' " , (un nu femme prennant une a l lu re pha l l ique) . Statuette aurignaciennce de S i reu i l (Dordogne). 16. Epste in 's copulating Doves of 1914-1915 are a notable exception. For a d iscuss ion 'o f .the re la t ionsh ip between Epstein and Brancusi , see Ge is t , 1968, p. 149. 17. E lsen, Or ig ins , pp. 29-30. 18. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 45. 19. I b i d . , p. 14. 20. Ib id. 21. Lev i -St rauss, The Raw and the Cooked, p. 3. 22. Bergson, Se lec t ions, p. 211. • 119 CHAPTER V Although seemingly complete in themselves, the two ser ies of human heads const i tute only hal f of Brancusi 's stone sculptures. The remainder of his oeuvre i s devoted to animal and bi rd images. This d iv i s ion of Brancusi 's sculptural universe into humans and animals must, i f our methodology is cor rec t , be one of opposi t ion. Lev i -Strauss indicates that th is precondit ion i s , in f ac t , common to a l l pr imi t ive mythological systems, and that the opposit ion between animals and humans is related to that between gods and humans and u l t imate ly , nature and cu l ture . Leach explains th is important d iv i s ion which l i e s at the core of much of both pr imi t ive and modern phi losophical systems. Lev i -St rauss ' central i n te l l ec tua l puzzle is one to which Euro-pean philosophers have returned over and over again; indeed i f we accept Lev i -St rauss ' own view of the matter i t i s a problem which puzzles a l l mankind, everywhere, always. Quite simply: What i s man? Man i s an animal, a member of the species Homo sapiens, c lose ly related to the great Apes and more d is tan t ly to a l l other l i v i n g species past and present. But Man, we asser t , is a human being, and in saying that we evident ly mean that he i s , in some way, other than ' j us t an animal . ! But in what way is he other? The concept of humanity as d i s t i n c t from animal i ty does not readi ly t ranslate into exot ic languages but i t i s Lev i -St rauss ' thesis that a d i s t i nc t i on of th is sort—corresponding to the opposit ion Culture/Nature— is always latent in men's customary at t i tudes and behaviours even when i t i s not e x p l i c i t l y formulated in words Lev i -S t rauss 's central preoccupation i s to explore the d i a l e c t i c a l process by which th is apotheosis of ourselves as human and god-l i k e and other than animal i s formed and reformed and bent back upon i t s e l f to discover the nature of Man we must f ind our way back to an understanding of how Man i s re lated to Nature J Henri Bergson as well was preoccupied with the problem. • Indeed, the di f ference between humans and " a l l other l i v i n g species past and present" was one of the primary concerns of his philosophy. We shal l therefore not lose sight of the fac t , in fol lowing one d i rec t ion and another of evolut ionary chains that our main business i s to determine the re la t ionsh ip of man to the animal , kingdom, and the place of the animal kingdom i t s e l f in the organized world as a whole.2 Brancusi , i t w i l l be demonstrated, did exact ly t h i s , although the conclusions he reached were the inverse of Bergson's and more in keeping with Lev i -St rauss, pa r t i cu la r l y in that Brancusi introduces man's god-l i k e nature into the question. Brancusi resolved the problem of the re la t ionsh ip between animals and humans with a ser ies of log ica l transformations which have as the i r underlying structure a paradigm . which may graphical ly be represented as: gods animals — humans The f i r s t h a n d most important, operator in th is transformation i s , once again, the semantical ly prec ise , yet formally ambiguous Sculpture  for the B l ind . As i t jo ins the two opposing human ser ies i t also l inks the human and animal works with each other, although i t i t s e l f does not deal with the div ine aspect. It was proposed in the previous chapter that the Sculpture  fo r the Bl ind mediates between the opposit ions of male and female and l i f e and iner t matter. It accomplishes th is by being both sexes and also egg and pebble simultaneously. Occuring at the phi losophical point where opposites coalese, i t was i t s own f i r s t cause, i t s own point of o r i g i n . This phi losophic and semantic function must, i f our proposal i s cor rec t , also serve to overcome or mediate between the opposit ions of human and animals. It must disguise the i r di f ferences in a statement of un i f ied dua l i t i es and or ig ins of species as well as of sexes; i t must t ru ly function in the structure of the oeuvre as the 'cosmic egg' as which i t has often been i n t u i t i v e l y in terpreted. In order to comprehend th is funct ion, and the s ign i f icance of the problem, one must turn again to Bergson. It w i l l be reca l led that Bergson spent much time explaining the processes of para l le l evolut ionary development which led to the d i f fe ren t ia t i on between animals and humans. At the or ig in of these "evolut ionary chains" at the point in time at which l i f e f i r s t invested iner t mater ia l , lay the common v i t a l impetus which l i nks the various forms of l i f e . I t was only subsequently that the divergent species began to emerge. At the end of the previous chapter was out l ined the phi losophical paradigm for the Princess X-Sculpture for the Blind-Newborn sequence. This also demonstrates the p r inc ip le by which the animal and human are l inked through a common point of o r i g i n . Bergson worked backward in time to the i n i t i a l point of non-di f ferent iated l i f e and continued his argument against " f i n a l i t y " by speaking of the search through past generations in order to f ind the f i r s t source of ind iv iduat ion in various l i f e forms. 122 Gradually we. shal l be carr ied further and further back, up to the i nd i v idua l ' s remotest ancestors, we sha l l f ind him so l idary with each of them, so l idary with that l i t t l e mass of proto-plasmic j e l l y which i s probably at the root of the generalized t ree of l i f e . Being, to a cer ta in extent, one with th is common ancestor, he i s also so l idary with a l l that descends from the ancestor in divergent d i rec t ions . In th is sense each indiv idual may be said to remain united, to the . . total i ty .of l i v i n g beings by i n v i s i b l e bonds. So i t i s of no use to t ry . : to r e s t r i c t f i n a l i t y to the i nd i v i dua l i t y of the l i v i n g being. If there i s f i n a l i t y in the world of l i f e , i t includes the whole of l i f e in a s ingle ind iv idual embrace.3 By taking the inf luence of Bergson's phi losophical concepts into account, Brancusi 's Sculpture for the B l i n d , can and must be in te r -preted as i t s a l ternat ive t i t le—Beginninq of the World—imp!ies, as the i n i t i a l point where the v i t a l impetus met with matter and f i r s t created non-di f ferent iated l i f e that was capable of reproducing and perpetuating i t s e l f and. thus i n i t i a t i n g the process of the evolut ion of new, d i s t i n c t , and opposing forms. It can thus be seen as conceptually and formally l i nk ing both human and animal ser ies by being the i r common point of o r i g i n . Both male and female, i t i s also both human and animal; i t i s the concrete equivalent of Bergson's 4 phi losophic concept. Given then, that the Sculpture for the Bl ind is semantical ly and ph i losophica l ly capable of jo in ing the human and animal se r i es , we can turn our at tent ion to the f i r s t of the animal sculptures. Of these, the f i r s t three are bi rd images: The Maiast ra, 1910/1912, the Penguins from 1912/1914, and the Leda, 1920. The fact that these f i r s t works are a l l avian cannot be acc identa l . The question appears: Why has.Brancusi chosen b i rd images to ef fect the transformation from human to animal? Is there any l i nk between birds and humans which 123 tends to disguise the i r d i f fe rences, make them ambiguous and thus ass i s t in the t rans i t ion from one opposing realm to the next? Levi-Strauss points out that b i rds , of a l l animals, occupy a special place in the i r re la t ionsh ip with human soc ie ty . He expla ins: Birds . . . can be permitted to resemble men ( in pr imi t ive thought) for the very reason that they are so d i f fe ren t . They are feathered, winged, oviparous and they are also phys ica l ly separated from human society by the element in which i t i s the i r , p r i v i lege to move. As a resu l t of th is f ac t , they form a community which i s independent of our own but, prec ise ly .because of i t s independence, appears to us l i k e another soc ie ty , homologous to that in which we l i v e ; birds love freedom; they bu i ld themselves homes in which they l i ve a family 1 i fe and nurture the i r young; they often engage in soc ia l re la t ions with other members of the i r species; and they communicate with them by acoustic means reca l l i ng par t icu lated language. Consequently everything object ive conspires to make us think of the bi rd world as a metaphorical human soc ie ty : i s i t not af ter a l l l i t e r a l l y pa ra l le l to i t on another leve l? There are countless examples in mythology and fo lk lo re to ind icate. the frequency of th is mode of representat ion.5 Given Lev i -St rauss ' theories on birds and pr imi t ive (mytho-log ica l ) thinking the importance of Bergson's philosophy to Brancusi 's thinking and the analysis of the human ser ies in the previous chapters, the underlying structure of the animal works should be predictable. Having establ ished the pr inc ip le of symmetrical development as-a paradigm of the human heads, the animals should consist of two p a r a l l e l , yet opposing se r i es , joined at the top and bottom. The two ser ies must also be developed chrono log ica l ly , as well as l o g i c a l l y , although para l le l with rather than af ter the humans. , The f i r s t works in the two ser ies should be the Maiastra and the Penguins. Both of these should be formally and semantical ly related to the Sculpture for the B l i n d , and in each instance, the birds should be employed in a 124 manner which incorporates a d i rec t transformation from human to animal. Generally the i n i t i a l developments should Took l i k e t h i s : Consequently, A-| - m - should p a r a l l e l , H-j - M - H^. As i t t ransp i res , however, the animal ser ies are not without problems in the i r development. Whether th is i s a matter of short-comings in the methodology or sh i f t s in Brancusi 's thought w i l l be discussed 1ater. In order for the in tegr i t y of the semantic and phi losophic in f rast ructure to be maintained, a l l of i t s parts must be coherent and even predic tab le. The forms must in each case s ign i f y the same things. The re lat ionships along the various axis must be e i ther opposit ional or p a r a l l e l . The terms of the i n i t i a l birds must correspond to those of the i r respective counterparts in the human se r i es . For example, the Maiastra and Penguins must be based on an underlying ovoid form which makes a reference to sexual reproduction. Furthermore, both the Newborn and Princess X are sexual ly ambiguous, i . e . both male and female. A s im i la r conceptual and formal jo in ing of sexual oppositions can be expected in the corresponding b i rds . 125 Other leve ls are, however, more complex. Insofar as the ser ies be-ginning with the Maiastra and the Penguins leads to a ser ies of animals, a mediating l ink between humanity and the animal kingdom must .be present. A double transformation must occur. The f i r s t of the animals must mediate between sexual opposites by being both male and female, and between opposites of species by being animal and human. But Levi-Strauss has led us to expect the introduct ion of an addit ional d i s t i nc t i on and reconc i l i a t i on , that between the f i r s t two and the world of the gods. Brancusi .has, in f ac t , over la id his system with an opposit ion between the sacred and the profane. As sha l l be shown, he does th is in a manner s im i la r to that found in other mythological systems. The para l le l oppositions and transformations along s ingle axes must also be prec ise. Let us begin with that of H-j - H^, the Newborn and the Maiastra. I t must be demonstratable that no element of one i s without a d i rect correspondence i'n the other. As w e l l , the Mai- as t ra , as the f i r s t animal f i gu re , and in correspondence with the Newborn, must be simultaneously male and female, and animal/human/ god. I t should, however, be s p e c i f i c a l l y the product of sexual a c t i v i t y : i . e . i t must contain a connotation of b i r t h . I t must move, as does the Newborn, from darkness to l i gh t and from womb to world and from blindness to s igh t . The Maiastra must also have a cry which s i gn i f i e s th is t r ans i t i on . I f th i s complex set i s not present, then the re la t ionsh ip between the two could at best be seen as fo r tu i tous , or based only on a common form and possibly re la ted , but not necessar i ly systematized, ideas. I f , on the other hand, they can be demonstrated, then the analysis f u l f i l l s i t s precon-d i t ions and can be termed v a l i d . I t can eas i ly ,be demonstrated that the Maiastra contains a god, animal and human transformation. The Maiastra f u l f i l s these con-d i t ions on both the formal and mythological plane. The form i s that of a bird.,,But.as,Tucker points out, i t i s also that .o f a human head 6 and neck. The human/animal transformation also occurs on the mythological plane. Spear has documented in some deta i l the variants of the Rumanian fo lk lo re from which the Maiastra i s drawn. The word i t s e l f comes the designation for f a i r i e s and gen i i . The b i rd Pasarea Maiastra (an.a l ternat ive t i t l e ) is thus mythological and magical, i t belongs to the sacred realm of the gods rather than the zoological , although l i ke Zeus, in the myth of Leda, i t manifests i t s e l f in b i r d l i ke form. But i t i s more than a sacred animal. A popular var iant on the Maiastra s tory , published in 1872, indicates that-, the Maiastra was a princess transformed; into a magical b i rd as the resul t of her incestuous love for her brother.^ In both a formal and contextual sense, then, the Maiastra may be read as animal, god- l ike being, or human. The mythological , sacred aspect of the work ef fects the transformation between the two realms. The Maiastra thus serves, in conjunction with the ambiguous Sculpture  for the B l i n d , as a mediator between the opposing world of humans and animals. 127 This complex transformation i s , however, i nsu f f i c i en t in i t s e l f to complete the necessary requirements of the system. The Maiastra must also be capable of being e i ther male or female, or at best sexual ly non-d i f ferent ia ted. The foregoing; in conjunction with Ithe Rumanian designation for Maiast ra , which i s feminine, would tend to indicate an exc lus ive ly female interpretat ion rather.than a conceptual and formal balance between the two sexes. Spear has, however, demon-strated that the forms of the Maiastra may be broken down into male/ phal1ic shapes and female/egg forms in a manner which para l le l s that of Princess X. This sexual ambiguity is also inherent in i t s mytho-log ica l aspects. In an important version of the myth, published as a poem by G. Baronzi in 1909,. Pasarea Maiastra, poema poporala, the magical b i rd is a transformed prince rather than a pr incess, male g rather than female. Although th is poetic-mythological in terpretat ion of the Maiastra as male appears unique, Spear postulates that i t played an important part in Brancusi 's conception. The poem appeared jus t pr ior taBrancus i 's f i r s t marble version and could'have served as one of the direct, insp i ra t ions for the carv ing. Thus, depending on whether the t rad i t i ona l or the new myth is fo l lowed, the image may be interpreted as e i ther a transformed male or female in the guise of a sacred bi rd . Having demonstrated;that the Maiastra i s , as Levi-Strauss leads us to expect, and as the system demands, male/female, and human/god/ animal simultaneously, we may now turn to the correspondences between the Maiast ra, and i t s counterpart, the Newborn. 128 The formal re la t ionsh ip between the Maiastra and the Newborn indicates the i r pa ra l le l conceptual bas is . Both are based on a continuous ovoid which has been given some minimal and s t y l i zed surface ar t i cu la t ion , to create a def inate, although ambiguous image. In th is case, the head and t a i l of a b i rd project from the top and bottom of the central ovo ida l , egg shaped body. It i s tempting to interpret th is as a b i rd form hatching from the dark, enclosed i n te r i o r of an egg. The Maiastra and the Newborn could then be read as images s ign i fy ing the emergence .into l i gh t from a dark womb/egg of a sexual ly d i f fe rent ia ted progeny, in one case human, in the other animal. Although such an in terpretat ion i s inherent in the form, and within keeping of the log ic of the system, none of the published commentaries on the Maiastra have explored th is par t i cu la r image. As w i l l be shown, however, the concepts have been reported as occurring in other aspects of the scu lp ture, thereby confirming the ana lys is . This w i l l be dealt with l a te r . The Newborn, i t w i l l be reaa l led , was engaged in ut ter ing a cry . As Levi-Strauss has ind icated, the presence of sound in mythological systems is always of great impor tance.^ I t is thus necessary to f ind a pa ra l l e l feature in the Maiastra. This e x i s t s . The open mouth of the Maiastra 's outstretched head is interpreted by Spear as " . . . s i n g i n g or announcing some message."^ At f i r s t , the element of sound, unique to these two sculptures, appears to be in opposi t ion. The song of the mythological creature i s characterized as sublimely beaut i ful rather than a squal id wail of agony. On c loser 129 examination, however, both cr ies have a common s ign i f i cance , they both announce the f i r s t experience of l i gh t a f ter a period of darkness. The equation of sound and l i gh t has already been establ ished for the Newborn. In the Maiast ra, i t i s presented in the nature of the b i rd i t s e l f , and in the spec i f i c place of i t s song in the mythological s tory . The Maiastra is associated with the sun, i t i s seen as a source of l i g h t . But the associat ion between i t s cry and the f i r s t experience of l i gh t a f ter darkness is more d i rec t . "In. the widespread Munteanian vers ion, 'Peter and the Fox, 1 re lated by Maldarescu, the king [who sends his sons, in search of the bird] i s b l ind and only the 12 song of the magic b i rd can restore his s i gh t . " . Spear continues, " . . . careful consideration of the charac ter is t i cs of the magic b i rd reveals i t s unquestionable 1uminary nature. I t i s a l i g h t g iv ing 13 being, even in the metaphoric sense of restor ing s ight to the b l i n d . " Thus, both the Newborn and the Maiastra involve a t rans i t ion from the darkness, suggested by the form and t i t l e of Sculpture for the B l i nd , to the world of Tight. I t i s in each case associated with the presence of a c ry , one with i t s source in a transformation between human, god and animal, one exc lus ive ly human. One i s temporal and operates on the profane plane, one i s mythological and therefore outside of t ime. This suggests that the re la t ionship between the Newborn and the Maiastra i s both apposite and opposite. The cry of the human Newborn i s the unpleasant resu l t of an infant confronting i t s f i r s t experience of l i g h t ; conversely, the cry of the mythological b i r d , Maiast ra , i s the beaut i fu l cause of an adult f i r s t experiencing l i g h t . 130 Maiastra nature animal beaut i fu l adult dark r-—: • 1 ight infant squal id human cul ture Newborn:. The pa ra l l e l s and correspondences between the two works are , however, not yet complete. I t has been noted that the Newborn i s associated with a physical t r a n s i t i o n , a "del ivery" from an enclosed world of darkness, to the world of l i g h t . I t has also been' postulated that the form of the Maiastra s i gn i f i e s a s im i l a r t r a n s i t i o n , in that i t suggests a hatching b i r d , but the formal in terpretat ion i s i nsu f f i c i en t without a mythological counterpart. This may be found in other variants of the myth. "The Romanian. Maiast ra, in the widepsread version related by Isperescu, dwells in 14 the underworld." Further, Spear associates the Maiastra with the Pajura, a so lar eagle-Tike b i rd of Romanian fo lk lo re which del ivers "the hero thrown into the underworld by his jealous brothers . . . 15 into sun l igh t . " The two de l iver ies from darkness to l i gh t and from underworldto th is world may be seen as a metaphorical equivalent of the del ivery of an in fant . In th is respect, one, last equivalent should also be mentioned. The Sculpture for the B l ind i s associated with death in the metaphorical sense of i t s s k u l l - l i k e shape which was suggested by Brancusi himself. It thus takes part in the con-t inual cycle of l i f e and death and suf fer ing and joy which make up the human temporal! world. Mythological beings l i v e outside th is cycle in a t imeless realm. As the Newborn conquers death in the temporal sense, so the Maiastra must conquer i t in the mythological realm. Spear notes that in the Munteanian version narrated by Popescu, the song of the b i r d , in th is case the transformed pr incess, " . . . can even resurrect the d e a d . " ^ The semantic pa ra l l e l s and oppositions between the units of the Newborn and the Maiastra are complete. Nothing is acc iden ta l , no part i s meaningless. The log ica l system maintains i t s i n teg r i t y . The mediating element between the two i s the highly ambiguous Sculpture for the B l i n d . I t i s evident from th is analysis that Brancusi systemat ical ly transformed a l l his concerns into th is unify ing work. I t i s both the source and termination of h is s e r i e s , t he i r o r ig in and f i r s t cause and the i r reso lu t ion. Before proceeding to an analysis of the ser ies of images which Brancusi developed from the Maiast ra , l e t us f i r s t examine i t s counter-part in the t rans i t ion from human to animal. This posi t ion (Ag in the diagram on p.124) is at once the most problematic,and the most r igorously complex of the animal works. It i s also s ign i f i can t in that i t i l l u s t r a t e s an ideo log ica l sh i f t in Brancusi 's sculpture from the soc ia l ideal ism of the pre-war sculptures to the sp i r i t ua l ideal ism of the post-war work. Both the semantic and ideologica l problems appear when the posi t ion i s occupied by Brancusi 's second animal /b i rd scu lp ture: The Penguins. Two versions of th is image ex i s t : the f i r s t from 132 1912 contains a group of three b i rds , the second, from af ter 1914, two. The works stand outside the oeuvre in that they are the only group sculptures in Brancusi 's ent i re repeto i re. This fact must be, then, of great importance and' deserves to be examined f i r s t . As groups, the Penguins must s ign i f y e i ther the soc ia l or the f a m i l i a l . This i s indicated by the closeness and intimacy of the elements, which are well integrated, ' and abstracted ovoidal forms that bear, however, T i t t l e resemblance to the i r namesakes. Their closeness is confirmed in another feature. Geist notes, "On the l e f t side of Three Penguins is an ambiguous enveloping element, one of the few unexplained forms to be found in Brancusi 's s c u l p t u r e . " ^ Taken in the context of the Penguins as a community or a fami ly , the function of th is form becomes quite c lea r . I t draws the indiv idual elements together much l i ke an enc i rc l i ng arm, thereby again s t ress ing the concept of a un i f ied group. The question a r i s e s , then, can the groups of Penguins be interpreted as s ign i fy ing an intent ional metaphor for human soc ie ty , as the i r posi t ion d i c ta tes ; do the Penguins embody the necessary transformation between the opposing realms of animals and humans? Both ; the. subject and the forms indicate an af f i rmat ive answer to both questions. Geist has stated on two occasions that the form of the Penguins resembles that of humans. He points out, "The Pen- guins are huddled together, Tike people." As w e l l , he notes that , " . . . in Brancusi 's sculpture (of the Penguins), we see only heads, that i s , truncated f igures—the only such among his animal sculptures, 133 18 but the: usual mode for his human images," although i t w i l l be reca l led that Tucker also saw i t occuring in the Maiastra. An examination of the subject confirms Ge is t ' s observations of the human-l i k e qua l i ty of the forms. Of a l l the b i rd fami ly , penguins bear the c losest resemblance to people. Penguins are , l i k e humans, f l i g h t -l ess . Their movement in water as opposed to a i r w i l l be discussed la te r . Their d i s t i nc t i ve black and white feathering appears to mimic human formal dress, the most soc ia l i zed and r i t ua l laden form of human a t t i r e . In add i t ion , penguins stand.upright and congregate in groups. Thus, as a spec ies, they are the most f i t t i n g metaphor in the b i rd kingdom for human soc ie ty , short of a d i rec t mythological transformation. They serve as operators in the t rans i t ion for the human ser ies to the para l le l b i rd se r ies . They are images of b i rd soc ie t ies and fami l ies that mimic human soc ie t ies and fami l i es . As Levi-Strauss s ta tes , they resemble humans c l ose l y , yet belong to a group that i s d i s t i nc t and separate from them. But given the point by point correspondence between the Newborn and the Maiast ra, should we not also seek a correspondingly precise re la t ionship between the Maiastra and the Penguins? Should we not expect the Penguins to also have an e x p l i c i t l y magical/mythological transformation between animals and humans that introduces the realm of the sacred? Further invest igat ion shows th is to ex i s t . Geist has indicated that Brancusi 's Penguins probably or ig inated in Anatole France's Penguin Is land. It has already been establ ished that Brancusi would have been fami l i a r with France through O t i l i a \ 133 A Source: Front ispiece i l l u s t r a t i o n by Frank C. Pape", Penguin Island by Anatole France, t rans. A.W. Evans (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, Dodd, Mead & Co . , n .d . ) . Source: I l l us t ra t i on by Frank C. Pape", page 38, Penguin Island by Anatole France, t rans. A.W. Evans (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, Dodd, Mead & Co . , n .d . ) . 134 de Cosmutza. This book, published in 1908, is a sa t i re on French h is tory in which a race of penguins i s magical ly transformed by God into a race of humans a f ter the bungling of a misdirected myopic saint ra ised the problem of the i r d i v i n i t y . The transformations from soul less birds to beings with a divine nature is described in the text and the i l l u s t r a t i o n s . Af ter an extensive debate on the consequences of the ac t ion , God summons the archangel Raphael: "Go and f ind. the holy Mael," . said he to him; "inform him of his mistake and t e l l him, armed with my. Name, to change these penguins into men." Consequently, Raphael informed Mael: . " . . .know they e r ro r , bel iev ing thou wert baptizing chi ldren of Adam thou has baptized b i rds , and i t i s through thee that Penguins have entered into the Church of God." Mael . . . said to the b i rds : "Be ye men!" Immediately the penguins were transformed. Their foreheads enlarged and the i r heads,grew round l i k e the dome of St . Maria Rotunda in Rome. Their oval eyes opened more widely on the universe . . . t h e i r beaks were changed into mouths, and from the i r mouths went for th speech . . . , a res t less soul dwelt within the breast of each of them. 20 However, there remained some traces of t he i r f i r s t nature. The development of the book fol lows th is o r ig in myth to describe the development of Penguin/human c i v i l i z a t i o n down to the present. Thus, the Penguins can be .said to incorporate a mythic, meta-phoric and formal transformation which mediates between the world of animals, humans and even gods. Like the Maiastra, i t answers 135 the question of the d i a l ec t i ca l process by which humanity's view of i t s e l f as "human and godlike and other than animal i s formed and reformed and bent back on i t s e l f . " The element of the divine mediates between nature and cu l ture . Yet. t h i s , while necessary; is not s u f f i c i e n t . The Penguins must also be both male and female and imply sexual a c t i v i t y in the same manner as Sculpture for the B l ind and Princess X.. Th is , they do. The second Penguins contains an image of two b i rds . It was not, however the only such image created at th is time. I t has been noted that , by 1914, Epstein had created his Two  Doves, the e ro t i c image of copulating birds..: It i s also known that Epstein and Brancusi were in communication in 1913-1914, and that Epstein had spent time in Brancusi 's s tudio. Thus, we may f a i r l y in terpret Brancusi 's Two Penguins as another copulating couple, male and female, and thereby pa ra l l e l i ng Princess X. This in terpre-tat ion is confirmed by the forms. Ovoidal , with s ing le oval eyes and a l l other deta i l e l iminated, the Penguins appear more l i k e s p l i t t i n g or jo in ing c e l l s than b i rds . Brancusi 's in terest in th is image of procreation has already, been documented. The metaphor also embeds the work in Bergson's phi losophical concepts, as i t i s one of the images he employs in i l l u s t r a t i n g the process of the evolution of d i f ferent species and sexes. The image thus coherently re lates the Penguins to Sculpture for the Bl ind and to Princess X. Nevertheless, a small-degree of semantic imprecision can be noted in th is bird/human/sexual metaphor, and transformation. The Penguins, although male/female and human/animal/god, lack the perfect v isual 136 pun of Princess X and the Maiastra which combine and unify aroused male forms with sensuous female forms into a s i ng le , synthetic image. In t h i s , the correspondence between the Penguins and the i r counterparts is not as exact as the system seems to demand. This then, is the i r problematic aspect. I f , however, a concession is made to a possible change in Bran-c u s i ' s th ink ing, then the imprecisions of the Penguins disappear. For the sake of argument, as th is point , l e t us allow the second water-b i rd image, that of Leda, to replace the Penguins. The new grouping would then look l i k e t h i s : The Leda must have a l l the features ascribed to the Penguins: i . e . be male/female and animal/human/god. It must also supply what the Penguins do not: i t must be a precise v isual male/female pun re la t ing to sexual a c t i v i t y , and thereby correspond prec ise ly to the Princess X. It must also express this using ovoidal forms. These conditions are met, in part , in the c l ass i ca l myth i t s e l f . The story in which Zeus (god), transforms himself into a swan (animal) to seduce Leda (a human) i s as well known now as i t was in 1920. The myth denoted by the t i t l e thus begins to es tab l ish the mediating l i nk between the human and animal world through the saored animal which is hal f nature, hal f god. This sequence of events, according to Lev i -St rauss, i s common to many mythologies. He explores in some de ta i l , t he equations between the polar opposit ions of god : man, w i ld : tame and animal ': human in an extended discussion of the 21 Minotaur, and'the story of Europa and the Bul l (again Zeus transformed). Just as the divine bu l l forms the l ink in these equa-t i ons , so in Leda i t i s the swan that supplies the transforming l ink between opposi t ions. But while the image of Brancusi 's Leda i s that of the sacred swan', a problem occurs. Given the c l ass i ca l source, the swan i s a god transformed, not a human, and i t i s a male image, not, l i k e Princess X, male and female simultaneously. The transformation both between the sexes and between man and animals is thus not e x p l i c i t in the c lass i ca l myth i t s e l f . It i s , however, in the sculpture, i f Brancusi 's personal in terpretat ion of the myth and his representation o f ' i t i s taken into account. Brancusi , transposed the transformation between male god and animal to one between female human and animal; He said of the work, 22 "It is Leda, no t , Jup i te r , changing into a swan." Brancusi has thus, as in the Maiast ra, de l iberate ly inverted the sexual i d e n t i f i -cation of the work so that the image of the sculpture as a represen-tat ion of a swan can be read as e i ther male or female depending on whether the c l ass i ca l or Brancusi 's version of the myth is fol lowed. Simultaneously, the new myth allows for the metamorphosis between humanity and the animal realm. The necessary transformations are thus complete. 138 These are, however, not the only pa ra l le l s between Leda and Princess X. Both refer to the fusion of the opposite sexes in the act of procreat ion. As Geist points out, "u l t imately Leda composes an image fundamental to both Greek myth and Brancusi 's own fancy: an image of f e r t i l i z a t i o n . A reproduction of the piece in a Bucharest 24 journal of 1924 i s , indeed, labeled •" "Fecund i ty . ' " Both Leda and Princess X also are producers of f e r t i l e eggs, in the case of Leda th is is l i t e r a l in the myth. Like Princess X, the image of the swan refers d i rec t l y not 'only to female procreative powers, but to those of the male counterpart as w e l l . This is inherent both in the image of Zeus and in the image of the swan as i t was interpreted in French popular fo lk culture around the turn of the century. Levi-Strauss points out that the name associated with swans in France at t h i s time was "Godard," a name which " . . . refers to a s i gn i f i can t soc ia l condit ion for i t was applied to husbands whose wives were 25 in labour." Thus, the Leda i s at once male (Zeus), female (Leda), tame (swan/human), wi ld (swan/animal); th is image of sexual creation uses the element of the divine to mediate between culture and nature and the dual i ty of the sexes. In both form and content, Leda and Princess X are apposites, yet they are opposed in that one repre-sents a b i r d , the other a human, one i s sacred, the other profane. They are , however, jo ined through the mediating l ink of the Sculpture  fo r the B l i nd . Their •relationships are among the most precise and rigorous in Brancusi 's sculptural system, but only when Brancusi 's 139 personal in terpretat ion and del iberate inversion of the image of the Leda myth is taken into account. .To. suppose that his statement was merely whimsical does, i n j us t i ce both to the in tegr i ty of the system and to the depth and qual i ty of his thought. Thus, a l l the aspects of the Leda take on a very precise s i g n i f i -cance when they are placed- in re la t ion to the tota l context of Bran-c u s i ' s sculptural oeuvre. Leda's complexity goes far beyond those features noted by Jack Burnham in The.Structure of Modern A r t , although Burnham was correct in many of his observations. In pa r t i cu la r , he noted Ge is t ' s assert ion of Bergson's in f luence, the sculptures androgenous nature, "nei ther one sex nor the other," that i t s "metalanguage i s the form of the myth i t s e l f , " and that , the "represen-tat ion of the characters has.been distored and displaced to the point where mimetic i den t i f i ca t i on is hot possible without reference to the myth. Thus the empirical sign i s taken over by the Plane of 26 Connotation." (Burnham's emphasis.) Burnham was, however, i n -correct in not rea l i z i ng that the Leda gained th is s ign i f icance from i t s re la t ionsh ip to the other units in Brancusi 's sculptural mythology. From the foregoing, i t would seem then, that Leda i s the ideal operator in the transformation from the human realm to that of animals, and d i rec t l y pa ra l le l s the Maiast ra, and Princess X. Its presence seems to be predicted by the shortcomings of the Penguins which i t appears to replace. The questions ar ise then, why does the methdology not account for the Penguins elsewhere, and why did Brancusi. 140 not destroy the works, as he had other pieces? In response to the l a t t e r i t must be noted.that both Penguins l e f t his studio short ly a f ter they were produced.. Unlike the Maiastra 'and many of hiisvother conceptions, he never again worked on th is theme. On the other hand, he did keep a version of the Leda in his s tud io , although here again he only produced two copies.. I t would appear then that Brancusi explore the penguin theme/:image.but discarded i t . His reasons may have been more ideological than semantic. I t i s evident that the Leda functions better within the system than the Penguins but there is another essent ia l d i f ference: the Penguins are based on a concept of soc ia l ideal ism whereas the Leda i s not. As has been pointed out by Ge is t , France's book was.a c r i t i que of French society and p o l i t i c s , and a re f lec t ion of his s o c i a l i s t sympathies. So. too, i t seems, was Brancusi 's Three Penguins.. Geist speculates that Brancusi 's work may even have i t s source in "three j a i l e d labour leaders who had gone on a hunger' s t r i ke " in 1911, and whom France had pub l i ca l l y 26a defended. France and Brancusi had also contributed to the pre-war s o c i a l i s t a r t i s t s ' commune, the Abbeye d e C r e t e i l . Following the war, however, af ter the col lapse of the commune, and much of i n te r -national s o c i a l i s t movement, Brancusi moved more towards sp i r i t ua l ideals expressed in animal images^ Indeed, b y l 9 2 4 , he seems to have been deeply inf luenced by the wr i t ings of Mi larepa, a Tibetan mystic sa in t . As w i l l be seen, his animal ser ies terminates in an image of s p i r i t u a l i t y rather than p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y . . 141 This t rans i t ion from soc ia l to sp i r i t ua l i s contained, in par t , in the replacement of the Penguins by the Leda. But th is t ransposi t ion involves more than jus t a change in i dea l s . On a broader level i t s i gn i f i es the t rans i t ion from a progressive concept of society to a s t a t i c invocation of the s p i r i t u a l , from cul tura l evolution to cu l tura l conservatism, and ul t imately from a diachronic to a synchronic concept of r e a l i t y . The reasons for th is change in d i rec t ion can be found in the synchronic nature of Brancusi 's developing sculptural s t ructure. I t was observed in Chapter T. that t imeless mythological structures col lapse i n the face of d ia lec t i c , or diachronic h i s t o r i c concepts which embody cu l tura l evolut ion. H is tory , based on soc ia l change over t ime, and mythological structures which ex is t only in s t a t i c , ah is to r i c cultures are inn im ica l . We.have, however, observed Brancusi 's s t ra te -gies for subverting art h is tory by turning i t back on i t s e l f , using timeless images l i ke . the K iss . But s o c i a l i s t ideals are also predicated on evolving s o c i e t i e s , they are h i s to r i ca l and d i a l e c t i c rather.than mythological and synchronic. Nonetheless,.up to the Penguins, Brancusi had been able to reconci le or at least obscure th is cont rad ic t ion. Short ly a f te r 1914, however, the contradict ion between the two became too great f o r the system to support. Rather than d isguis ing the contradict ions in Brancusi 's ideas between cu l tura l conservatism and soc ia l progress, the Penguins begin to expose i t . The uncomfortable t r u t h becomes e x p l i c i t rather than hidden. The s i tua t ion was exacerbated by i t s temporal context: the beginning of World War I. The war was an. h i s t o r i c event of mythic proportions that produced.monumental cu l tura l a l te ra t ions . Brancusi , although he withdrew, could not ignore i t . As we sha l l see in the next chapter, he did attempt to mythologize the war, and turn i t into a timeless event by making i t c y c l i c and synchronic rather than progressive and evolut ionary. The conservatism which i s embedded in the timeless c l ass i ca l Leda but contradicted by.the war-time Penguins emerges more completely when Brancusi 1 s 1914-1915 sculptures are examined c o l l e c t i v e l y . But before an examination of th is period can be undertaken, i t i s necessary to re-examine the Maiastra since i t was conceived at a time when Brancusi 's s o c i a l i s t ideals of brotherhood were s t i l l i n tac t . I t should, then, contain an element of these idea ls . By 1913, a bronze version (now in. the Tate' Gal lery) was mounted on a p i l l a r in Edward Steichen's garden at Voulangis. Placed cn th is elongated pedesta l , the Steichen Maiastra sends i t s cry skyward. Geist refers 27 to the image as a " . .. . hera ld ic presence, noble and gent le . " Brancusi said of i t , " J ' a i voulu que la Maiastra releve la te te , 28 sans exprimer par ce mouvement la f i e r t e , 1'orgueil ou le d e f i . " The set t ing of the Steichen Maiastra and these descr ipt ions may indicate .another possible source for Brancusi 's conception. In September of 1911, a r e a l i s t i c a l l y portrayed crowing cock, the work of Jean Gasper, was mounted on a sixteen meter obelisque in Jemmapes, Belgium. A "coq Gaulo is , " the symbol of France's 143 g lo ry , the monument was erected to commemorate the f i r s t French m i l i t a r y v ic tory on foreign so i l fo l lowing the Revolut ion. L'. I lus-t r a t i o n , a popular French journal much l i ke present-day L i f e Magazine, carr ied both i l l u s t r a t i o n s and a descr ipt ion of the monument. . . . la s i gn i f i ca t i on de ce.tbeau monument de Jemmapes, qui dresse son coq symbolique sur la plaine fameuse ou les troupes franchises triompherent, en 1792, des forces coal isees de I 'Autr iche et de la Prusse.29 Another item elaborated on i t s s ign i f i cance . II t radui t par sa s imp l i c i t e meme cette ver i te generale que de .la France de 1792 data le commencement d'une profonde evolut ion' sp.iritue.11e et mater ie l !e 'dont la Belgique bene-f i c i a l a premiere . . .30 The French monument expressed the exact reverse of Brancusi 's con-cept ion: " . . . la f i e r t e , l ' o r g u e i l , . . . le def.i" are i t s inherent expressive q u a l i t i e s . I f Geist is correct in his analysis of Brancusi 's s o c i a l i s t sympathies and i f the Maiastra was in turn inspi red by a war monument, then once again Brancusi has inverted his o r ig ina l source of i nsp i ra -t ion in both form and content. The Maiastra i s a personal image, in a modern,abstract idiom, of l i f e and love, based, however, on time-less Rumanian f o l k l o r e ; conversely, the Jemmapes cock i s a r e a l i s t i c a l l y portrayed monument to war and death, based on French heraldry. Through th is inversion the Maiastra could be interpreted as a monument to 31 brotherhood and s o c i a l i s t va'lues. When the war became a r e a l i t y , however, the Maiastra underwent a change once again re f lec t ing Brancusi 's s h i f t from the socia l and progressive to the s p i r i t u a l and conservative which pa ra l l e l s the sh i f t from the Penguins to the Leda. 144 Footnotes: Chapter V 1. Leach, pp. 38-39. 2. Bergson, Creat ive, ' p-, 111. 1 3. I b i d . , pp. 45-46. 4. Although such ideas may seem foreign in the present context of a r t , they enjoyed some populari ty in the Par is ian avant garde at the time Brancusi 's Beginning of the World was created. B la ise Cendrars, for example, wrote a descr ip t ion 'o f a "cosmic sponge" which c lose ly pa ra l le l s the meaning of Sculpture for The B l i nd . Cette eponge est Eponge des Tenebres, Touffe des Langues, Orgue des Or ig ines. Comme un cerveau dans un crane, e l l e se moule dans la premiere forme. E l l e est 1 'echant i l lon primaire le plus simple,' le plus elemental re d'une fami l le d 'etres a rebours, i nqua l i f i ab les et inadmissib les, aux Antipodes de l ' U n i t e . Bla ise Cendrars, L'Eubage aux. antipodes de 1'unite (Pa r i s , Au Sans P a r e i l , 1926), but wr i t ten between May and December, 1917. Brancusi knew Cendrars in t imate ly . In f ac t , the Sculpture for  the B l ind ' s a l ternat ive t i t l e , . Beginning of the World, was used as the t i t l e of a ba l le t with scenario by Cendrars, music by Milhaud, and costumes by.Leger, which was . f i r s t performed in 1923, Brancusi was reportedly in the crowd on opening night. 5. Lev i -St rauss, The.Savage Mind, p. 204. 6. Tucker, p. 50. 7. Spear, p. 4. 8. I b i d . , pp. 11-12. 9. I b i d . , pp. 4, n .8 . 10. Leach, p. 86. 11. Spear, p. 11. 12. I b i d . , p. 4. 145 13. I b i d . , p. 5. 14. I b i d . , p. 7. .15. Ib id . 16. I b i d . , p. 4. 17. Ge is t , 1969, p. 46. 18. Ge is t , 1975, p. 19. 19. Ge is t , 1969, p. 61. 20. Anatole France, Penguin Island (New York:' Blue Ribbon Books, 1909), pp. 38-40.. 21. Leach, pp. 73-74. 22. Ge is t , 1969, p. 101. The complete quote i s worth c i t i ng in th is instance. Maivina Hoffman reports of her v i s i t to Brancusi 's studio in 1938 his statements, concerning Leda. " 'You remember the story in mythology, when a god was changed into a swan and Leda f e l l in love with th is b i r d ? ' " . . . "We l l , " he whispered, "I never believed i t ! " . . . . "You see," said Brancusi , "I never could; imagine a male being turned into a swan, impossible, but a woman, yes, qui te eas i l y . Can you recognize her in th is b i rd?" .., . . . "She i s kneel ing, bent backwards. Can-you see now? These high l igh ts were her breasts, her head . . . but they were transformed into these bi rd forms. As they turn they are forever transforming into new l i f e , new rhythm . . . do you feel i t ? " Sculpture Inside and Out (New York: Bonanza Books, 1939). 23. Geist also recognized Leda's transformative imaginery, although he saw only part of i t : "Leda is a metaphoric creature: womanbird." Ge is t , 1975, p. 18. 24. Ge is t , 1967, p. 77. 25. Lgv i -St rauss, The Savage Mind, pp. 200-201. 26. Burnham, The Structure, p. 93. 26a. Ge is t , 1969, p. 61. 27. Ge is t , 1969, p. 50. 146 28. Spear, p. 13. 29. L ' I l l u s t r a t i o n , P a r i s , 30 September 1911, p. 252. 30. I b i d . , 23 September 1911, p. 228. 31. The p o s s i b i l i t y that .Brancus i 's Maiastra may have been inspi red by the Jemmapes monument or a s im i l a r image deserves serious considerat ion. Certain problems a r i se , however, espec ia l l y con-concerning their: respective dates. The f i r s t marble version of the Maiastra has been given an e a r l i e s t possible date of 1910, the year before the'Jemmapes coq. This date i s , although general ly accepted, conjectura l . I t i s based on statements Brancusi made more than a decade and a hal f a f ter the event. (Geis t l968, p. 178). A photograph of the work inscr ibed 1910-1912, " in Brancusi 's hand," (Ibid) does not confirm 1910 as the e a r l i e r date, but only indicates that i t was again added well a f ter the photograph; was taken and again expresses some uncertainty about i t . It seems:possible then,, that Brancusi was thinking of the idea as ear ly as 1910 but not un t i l 1912 did he execute i t . I t i s possible that in th is time Brancusi: learned of the Jemmapes commission and the form i t would take. Furthermore, i t was not the on ly 'coq gaulo is ' of th is form to be mounted on a p i l l a r as a war monument—others predate i t . An e a r l i e r example was discovered in A f r i ca in 1912. ( L ' I l l u s t r a t i o n , 13 A p r i l , 1912, p. 310.) Both Brancusi 's comments on the Maiastra and the fact that he was short ly to begin work on h is own 'coq qualo is ' also indicate a possible connection. The l a t t e r was, in f ac t , intended as a.:national monument although i t had i t s source in a personal metaphor.. Brancusi was to say, "I am the Cock" . (Ge is t , : ,. 1968, p. 137) F i n a l l y , both the image and the idea may, once again, be a d i rec t inversion of a work by Rodin: The Cal1 to Arms. This monument to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 , shows a winged female f igure r i s i n g over the body of a s la in so ld ie r . The female i s , Tike the Maiast ra, half-human, half, animal. But instead of' invoking! peace, she "hisses the s p i r i t of revenge and anger." She i s the "Genius of War, who r ises l i ke a Phoenix behind the dying warr ior" (de Caso and Sanders., p. 199). As sha l l be seen, the Phoenix plays a ro le in the development of the Maistra theme during the war years. CHAPTER VI Although the tensions between the socia l and the s p i r i t u a l , the progressive and the conservative and the diachronic and the synchronic are as e x p l i c i t in the Maiastra ser ies as in the Penguin/ Leda t ranspos i t ion , and although these problems also occur during the war years , the two ser ies are dist inguished by the i r approach to the problem and i t s reso lu t ion . Brancusi handled i t with more f inesse in the sequence of sculptures fol lowing the Maiastra; the uncomfortable ideological contradict ion was more successfu l ly overcome and d isguised, but reconc i l i a t i on was not the answer. Committed at a n ' e a r l i e r stage to the Ma ia is t ra , Brancusi did not abandon i t , but transformed i t by minute and barely d is t inguishable graduations into i t s opposite. As the ser ies moves from one polar opposit ion to the other, Brancusi abandoned a l l s o c i a l i s t concerns. Although Spear missed th is t rans i t ion she has categorized and explored many other pert inent developments of the ser ies J It i s unique in that i t contains more indiv idual works than any of the others; the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s , however, are the most l im i ted . Indeed, the ideas l ink ing the various birds proceed with a directness that borders on the single-minded. This indicates that Brancusi was work-ing towards a s i ng le , preconceived idea which was inherent in his pre-war work and was, as we sha l l see, also grounded in Bergson. But to these concerns he added the problem of overcoming the contradict ion 148 between history and concomitant cu l tura l change on the one hand and the denial of time and cu l tura l s tas is on the other. As was indicated by the Leda/Penguins problem, even in times of h i s t o r i c upheaval, mythology triumphs over h is tory in Brancusi 's universe, but not without s a c r i f i c e . The i n i t i a l works in the Maiastra ser ies are d i rec t variants of the Maiastra, and as such maintain, a lbe i t in a diminished bas is , the balance between Brancusi 's s o c i a l i s t sympathies and mythological p r o c l i v i t i e s . In 1915, at the beginning of the war, a Maiastra of a s l i g h t l y d i f ferent image appeared. Brancusi streamlined the upper portion of the body by jo in ing the head, neck and body in a s ingle attenuated form. He enhanced the ver t i ca l dynamic by straightening the neck so that the open mouth at the top issued i t s cry d i rec t l y to the sky. In keeping with the upward thrus t , the t a i l sect ion was proport ionately lengthened, although i t s t i l l retained the angular conf igurat ion of the i n i t i a l conception. By contrast , Brancusi added a s t y l i zed claw motif to the bottom of the sculpture. The image, ' in i t s smooth contours and aerodynamic form, i s both modern machine and timeless mythic b i r d . Just as i t s hovers between the mechanical, the zoo log i ca l , and the mythological , the new Maiastra also hovers between f l i g h t and res t . Its upper sect ion aspires to the heavens, i t s lower part f i rmly grips the ground. The concept i s thus also one of tension between the earthbound and the a i rborn. For the Maiastra to leave the earthly realm of humans and animals, i t would have to a l t e r i t s meaning, i t s form and i t s designation more completely. Nonetheless, th is version establ ishes the d i rec t ion of subsequent formal and semantic t rans-formations. It ind ica tes , above a l l , that the concept of motion, here expressed as f l i g h t , is to be of fundamental, importance to each of the animal images. But the tension'expressed goes beyond mere d i rec t ion and type of motion, as both, have a broader importance in the problem of the diachronic versus the synchronic. This becomes evident when the s ign i f icance of f l i g h t , as i t i s expressed in the aero-dynamic form of the Maiastra, i s explored. As with the Steichen Maiastra 's p i l l a r , the use of f l i g h t i s not without contemporary soc ia l pa ra l l e l s and possible wartime associat ions. In the winter of 1912-1913, "L'Apotheose de 1 'aviat ion f rancaise" was held in the Grand P a l a i s , also the s i t e of the o f f i c i a l sculptural salons. The purpose of th is show was to exh ib i t the la tes t develop-ments in the evolut ion of mechnical f l i g h t in France. Brancusi , i t appears, attended th is exh ib i t i on . Christopher Green reports that "Leger to ld Dora V a l l i e r of a v i s i t to the Salon d 'Av iat ion 'before 2 the 1914 war' with Marcel Duchamp and Constanin Brancus i . " The v i s i t had a deep ef fect on Leger, and, i t seems, on Brancusi. The response of the painter , however, i s in d i rect contrast to that of the scu lp tor . In 1923, Leger r eca l l ed , " 'beau t i fu l , hard metal objects , complete and func t iona l , treated in pure local co lours , the steel playing against vermillions and blue.with i n f i n i t e var iety of 3 e f f e c t , ' " he remembered also "geometric power." Although a pa in ter 's impressions, what is important is that Leger began t rans la t ing "the real drama of machines experienced at f i r s t hand;" he "presented on canvas . .... that intense sensation of . . . metal ic s o l i d i t y and of 4 power in motion that he experienced in the machinery of modern l i f e . " For these reasons Green c a l l s him a " r e a l i s t , " despite his fragmented, s t y l i zed forms. Leger developed these ideas in a ser ies of works conceived during the war when he was at the front l i nes . Leger's declarat ion of r e a l i s t intent ions does not lead him to demand the depict ion of modern mechanistic subjects, but i t does lead him to demand that the raw material of modern l i f e should be related to every p i c t o r i a l statement in a very tangible way.5 6 This became pa r t i cu la r l y evident in his choice of subject matter. He was to say in 1954, that his war time experiences led him " ' de l i be ra te l y to extract his subject from the t imes. ' Brancusi in the 1915 Maiastra, also exhibi ted an in terest in aerodynamic forms drawn from modern indus t r ia l soc ie ty , but several fundamental di f ferences spearate him from Leger. Brancusi combines these mechanical forms with a subject drawn not from contemporary existence, but from Romanian f o l k l o re . In so doing he mythologized mechanical f l i g h t . The diachronic evolut ion of technological innovations was reconci led with a synchronic, s t a t i c , mythology by dressing one in the guise of the other. The opposit ion was overcome, or d isguised. As with art h is to ry , however, Brancusi subverted technological h is to ry , by expressing i t i n .a t imeless, mythic image. Brancusi remained a mythologizer, rather than a r e a l i s t , despite the outward modernity of his forms. 151 S ign i f i can t di f ferences between Leger and Brancusi can also be observed in the i r respective approaches to art h i s to r i ca l t rad i t i ons . By 1920, Leger was under the inf luence of the " ca l l to order ," which developed among the a r t i s t s around Leonce Rosenburg's 1 1 Ef for t Moderne ga l l e r y , which included some of the a r t i s t s involved in the Abbeye. This " ca l l to order" demanded a recognit ion of the evolving t rad i t ions of French art through, a return to c l ass i ca l values. In such works as the h ie ra t i c "Le Mechani.ci.en" of 1920, Leger was "openly assert ing his be l i e f in constant p i c t o r i a l p r inc ip les to be found as much in the past as in the present . . . . He adds to his new c lass ic ism a strong g sense of t r a d i t i o n . " He s t i l l , however, retained modern subject matter drawn from his experience at the Salon d 'Av ia t ion . He also used modern mechanically inspired forms to assert his contemporary place in time. His references to the:antique are subordinated to both of these elements. It seems that some overlap between Leger's " ca l l to order" and Brancusi 's Maiastra occurs. On c loser examination, however, th is turns into an opposi t ion. Brancusi , as has been shown, denies or subverts the concept of an evolving French t rad i t i on by emphasizing t imeless, Romanian (or c l a s s i c a l ) mythological subjects, and, as much as poss ib le , t imeless, a l b e i t , mechanically i nsp i red , forms. In contradict ion to Leger, Brancusi 's modernism is always subordinated to the eternal rather than vice versa. The s ign i f icance of th is sha l l be examined present ly. On the other hand, Brancusi 's mechanical Maiastra would s t i l l , i t seems, allow him to harbour his s o c i a l i s t sympathies, although i t s connection with, i t s insp i ra t ion is becoming more tenuous, just as i s i t s connection with the earth. As the war progressed, both connections were severed, as the tens ion between dachronic soc ia l evolut ion and the synchronic cu l tura l conservatism of mythologies became too great for his mythology to disguise successfu l ly . i'Spear points to the or ig ins of th is problem by ind icat ing another possible source of insp i ra t ion for the 1915 Maiastras, and la te r works in the se r ies . She l inks technological evolut ion with soc ia l upheaval. In World War I for the f i r s t time the b a t t l e f i e l d was extended into the a i r . The Zepplin warship and airplane raids must have been an impressive experience for generations which had grown up in the nineteenth century.9 Obviously the or ig ina l Maiastra was inef fec t ive as a symbol and c a l l to brotherhood and peace. But the war, and f l i g h t , produced more t e l l i n g blows against Brancusi 's mythological s t ructure. The war, as has been s a i d , produced dramatic soc ia l and technical changes of which the Zepplin was only one example. Now, jus t as he had mythologized technological evo lu t ion, Brancusi was obliged to mythologize soc ia l change, and to a l t e r the war from a diachronic h i s t o r i c event to a synchronic mythological s t ructure. This posed a problem of no small proport ions. We have already examined part of Brancus i . 's 'so lu t ion. The Princess X, the Sculpture for the Bl ind and the Newborn were a l l created during 1915-1916. These works express a cycle of b i r th and death, of creat ion and destruct ion. They arrest time by turning i t back on i t s e l f into a repeated cycle that i s both i t s own end and i t s own beginning. It would be expected, then, that Brancusi would use a para l le l paradigm for the b i r th and death of cu l ture . With th is in mind, one may fol low Spear's suggestion and see the la te r Maiastra as the incarnat ion of another mythological so lar b i rd related both to the cycle and i t s h i s t o r i c context—the Phoenix. Spear in fact indicates that a possible source for Brancusi 's Maiastra may have been Diaghi lev 's Russian B a l l e t ' s performance of Strav insky 's Fi re Bird in Par is in 1910 . 1 0 She also notes that "The Phoenix, always reviv ing himself , i s the symbol of e t e r n i t y . " ^ Others have shared Spear's impression. The Maiastra has been endowed with Phoenix-l i k e qua l i t i es by various poets, who found in i t a source of i nsp i ra -12 t i on . The Phoenix would be a t imely symbol. Its c y c l i c se l f -destruct ion by f i r e in the pyre composed of i t s own nest i s a mytho-log ica l metaphor for the destruct ion of western c i v i l i z a t i o n in the • conf lagrat ion of the war. In" the myth, the heat generated by the flames causes an egg l a i d by the Phoenix before i t s immolation to hatch, and a new incarnation of the Phoenix a r i ses . Sculpture for  the Bl ind could be the Phoenix's as well as Leda's and Princess X's egg. In conjunction with the Newborn and Princess X, i t would thereby acquire an addi t iona l dimension of meaning as a metaphor for the renewal and creation of cul ture and c i v i l i z a t i o n , as well as for the renewal and creation of animal and human l i f e . A new cycle of l i f e and cul ture [ i n i t i a t e d , i t w i l l be reca l led with the Prometheus) would thus begin again fol lowing the war. The idea of f l i g h t introduced 154 in the 1915 Maiastra could be .seen as the new Phoenix leaving the ashes of i t s predecessor's nest. The concept.of c y c l i c regeneration may also have a source in another work by Stravinsky. In May, 1913, Strav insky 's Le Sacre du Printemps, performed by the Ba l le t Russe, opened in Pa r i s . Accordr ing to Green, i t s impact "on the Par iasian avant-garde-was profound . . . and of s ignf icance to a l l the a r t s . St rav insky 's theme was not modern l i f e , i t was the c y c l i c a l energy of a l l l i f e as a continual process of regeneration—the theme so deeply explored by the Abbaye poets 13 and a l l fol lowers of Bergsonian phi losophy." Brancusi may well have responded pos i t i ve l y a second time to Stavinsky's theme, pa r t i cu la r l y since i t was based on S lav ic mythology. In th is context, the Newborn, Sculpture for the B l i nd , Princess X,  Maiastra (as phoenix) grouping:is both t imely and t imeless. Although strongly related to Bergson's concept of evolut ion and durat ion, the group i s , nevertheless, opposed to i t . As the Maiastra uses mythological subjects and structures to subvert mechanical evo lu t ion, s o t h e group uses the same means to turn soc ia l and cu l tura l h is tory back on i t s e l f into an endless and repeated cyc le , with no beginning, no end, and • no progression. Repeated mythological cycles,which are synchronic, run contrary to diachronic evolutionary continuums. But although Brancusi successfu l ly mythologized h i s to r i ca l and soc ia l evolut ion as expressed in the war, he was ob l iged, at th is point , to abandon h i s . s o c i a l i s t i dea ls . These are based on the per-ception of h is tory as progressive and society as a changing, evolving 155 continuum. They, l i ke Bergson's concepts, also run contrary to repeated mythological cycles and concepts of time and soc iety . As th is opposit ion became e x p l i c i t in the face of the war, Brancusi was obliged to deny socia l evo lu t ion, and opted, of necessi ty , for soc ia l conservatism. Soc ia l ism, h is tory and time perished in the flames of the Phoenix. This conservatism corresponds prec ise ly to Lev i -St rauss ' analysis of the ro le and function of time and history in mythological thought. Levi-Strauss c a l l s myths, which he compares to music in the introduct ion 14 of The Raw and the Cooked, "machines for the suppression of t ime." That i s to say, myth, l i ke Brancusi 's sculptural system, i s synchronic and c y c l i c rather than d iachronic , d i a l e c t i c or evolut ionary. Both unfold over t ime, yet in the f i na l ana lys i s , they resul t in the suppression of the temporal by the t imeless. This paradoxical s i tua t ion i s somewhat complex, but deserves some d iscuss ion. An extensive quotat ion from Levi-Strauss w i l l c l a r i f y is components. . . . music and myth share (the charac te r i s t i c ) of both being languages which., in the i r d i f fe rent ways, transcend a r t i cu la te expression, while at the same t ime—like a r t i cu la te speech, but un l ike.paint ing—requi r ing a temporal dimension in which to unfold. But th is re la t ion to time i s of a rather special nature: i t i s as i f music and mythology needed time only in order to deny i t . Both, indeed, are instruments for the ob l i te ra t ion of time. Below the level of sounds and rhythms, music acts upon a pr imi t ive t e r r a i n , which is the psychological time of the l i s t e n e r ; th is time is i r r eve rs ib le and therefore irredeemably d iachronic , yet music transmutes the segment devoted to l i s ten ing to i t into a synchronic t o t a l i t y , enclosed within i t s e l f . . . . It fo l lows that by l i s ten ing to music, and while we are l i s ten ing to i t , we enter into a kind of immortal i ty. . . . I t can now be seen how music resembles myth, since the l a t t e r two overcomes the contradict ion between h i s t o r i c a l , enacted time and a permanent constant J 5 156 Brancusi 's work establ ishes a s im i l a r re la t ionship and performs a function s im i l a r to Lev i -St rauss ' model. The correspondence between Lev i -St rauss ' musical metaphor and Brancusi 's structure may well ex-p la in Brancusi 's propensity for employing musical sources as well as his close associat ion with composers l i k e Sat ie and Stravinsky. Lev i -S t rauss 1 concept may a l so , however, be applied to ind iv idual sculptures wi thin the s t ructure. Sculpture for the B l i n d , f o r example, compresses both the or ig in of l i f e and i t s continual recreation into a s ing le object, that i s perceivable in a s ingle moment. I t i s a "permanent constant" par excel lence. The same w i l l be shown to occur with the developing Maiastra ser ies which seems to state the contradict ion between the h i s t o r i c a l l y conditioned and the timeless or mythological by a ser ies of gradual transformations in which the former i s suppressed by the l a t t e r . Indeed, i t i s true of the ent i re oeuvre. Brancusi himself recognized th is re la t i on -ship in his work in a discussion of motion, which i s , i t w i l l be reca l led re lated in Bergson to the idea of durat ion, and hence to the problem of time. Qu'est-ce qui deft-nit notre epoque? La V i t e s s e . Les hommes s'attaquent a Tespace e t a u temps, en accelerant sans cesse les moyens de les t raverser . La v i tesse n 'est que l a mesure du temps que Ton met a traverser une distance. Et parfois i l s ' a g i t de l a distance qui nous separe de la mort. L' oeuvre d 'a r t exprime justement ce qui n'est pas soumis a la mort. Mais e l l e doi t le fa i re dans une forme qui so i t un temoignage de Tepoque dans laquel le v i t T a r t i s t e J 6 This statement is worth examining in some.detai l . His approach to motion places i t f i rmly as a diachronic element; as i t progresses in time, i t progresses in speed. Brancusi , however, arrested th is 157 evolutionary qual i ty and mythologized motion and aerodynamic speed in the l a te r Maiastra. But speed as equated with technological pro-gress, motion and time also leads to the ultimate unpleasant t ru th : death and war. Brancusi, successfu l ly subverted a l l of these with the Sculpture for the B l i n d , and the continual renewal of the Maiastra as Phoenix. With them.we "enter into a kind of immortal i ty." F i n a l l y , he dealt with the evolution of forms, which are also diachronic. Here, however, he says forms are secondary, i t i s only that which goes beyond death, and hence speed, time and evo lu t ion, that i s important in .a r t . In Brancusi 's view, as in Burnham's, art h istory i s mythology. I t is here that Brancusi separates himself from the other a r t i s t s of the avantgarde in the post war per iod, pa r t i cu la r l y those, l i k e L ipch i tz and Leger, who were under the inf luence of the " c a l l to order." These a r t i s t s . a l s o sought out what they considered the eternal laws of a r t , yet they viewed them as the continuum.of a t rad i t i on or an evolution through h is to ry . Brancusi , conversely, cont inual ly subverted t radi t ions: ( in the evolutionary sense) through both his mythological subject matter and his timeless technique. The Maiastra in i t s various versions i s mul t i - layered, and complex, yet i t s themes are consistent . With i t Brancusi t r i ed to stave o f f , and f a i l i n g that , to mythologize the war. With i t he created a timeless image "from the debris of h i s t o r i c events." In so doing he had to face the contradict ions in his works in order to disguise them. His system would not support both:socia l evolution 158 and soc ia l conservatism. The former was abandoned. Having sub-verted, h is to ry , and produced a s t a t i c , c y c l i c , non-d ia lec t ic image, Brancusi turned, af ter 1918, from socia l ideal ism to sp i r i t ua l ideal ism. This s h i f t , away from r e a l i t y and the mechanical, and to-wards the eternal and the sp i r i t ua l dominates the rest of his animal images. The underlying tension between the soc io -h i s to r i c and socia l ism and the transcendental and eternal and s p i r i t u a l was resolved in favour of the l a t t e r as the Maiastra, or b i r d , ser ies progressed. The Yellow  Bird,;of 1918 points in th is d i rec t i on . It contains subt le , but impor-tant transformations of the forms found in the 1915 Maiastra. Bran-cusi increased the ve r t i ca l emphasis by further straightening the back, streamlining the contours and creating a more continuous surface. He enhanced the upward thrust by ass imi la t ing the angular forms of the Maiastra 's t a i l section into a smooth, spindle-shaped body which bu lges .s l i gh t l y at the breast and tapers at e i ther end. The fel low Bird rests on a dangerously narrow foot ing. The claws along with most other b io log ica l references have been el iminated. The mouth, which no longer seems to s ing , has now been reduced to l i t t l e more than an indentation interrupt ing the upward flow of the torso/neck/head. Although the ent i re body i s composed of a s i ng le , compressed and continuous form, the t i t l e prevents i t from being seen as a f i na l stage of general izat ion or abst ract ion. An analysis of the forms and t i t l e demonstrates the t rans i t iona l s ta te , or transformative operat ions, of the Yellow Bird in the se r i es . The t i t l e , Yellow B i r d , stands in opposit ion to the Maiastra in that 159 i t belongs to the profane realm rather than the.sacred or mythological . I t w i l l be reca l led that a s im i l a r .opposi t ion, also obscured by close formal, s i m i l a r i t i e s , . characterized the re lat ionships between Prometheus and George, and the Danai des and Mile Pogany. This pa ra l l e l development indicates that to some extent, the human ser ies and those of the animals may be isomorphic, despite the dif ferences of t he i r concerns. On the other hand, i t may be argued that while the humans have proper names, the Yellow Bird can at best be part of a species. On close examination, however, the di f ference i s ac tua l ly a p a r a l l e l . While ind iv idual humans have proper names, indiv idual animals, (unless tame or part human, such as Leda and Maiastra) do not. Thus, for animals, the exact species becomes, l i ke human proper names, the f i nes t possible c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . I t w i l l also be reca l led that fo l lowing th is extreme of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , the human ser ies increased in abstract ion and genera l iza t ion. To what extent the b i rd series follows a s im i l a r structure w i l l be seen shor t ly . Motion i s , however, not incompatible with s p i r i t u a l i t y . Opposi-t ions between methods of propulsion and media through which motion occur are the p r inc ip le preoccupations of both the animal and b i rd se r i es , and i t i s here that we f ind the most t e l l i n g statement of the s h i f t in Brancusi 's p o l i t i c a l sympathies. The aspect of motion, however, const i tutes an opposit ion between the Maiastra and the Yellow B i rd . The Maiastra, in a l l i t s forms, i s l i ke the humans and Leda, earthbound. Nonetheless, the potent ia l for l i gh t and free movement through the a i r was expressed in i t s 160 la te r vers ions. The Yellow Bi rd rea l i zed th is po ten t ia l . As Spear points out, an impression of "the idea of f l i g h t , of the ' a e r i a l , ' the unbounded by laws of gravi ty" i s created by " i t s elongation and i t s extremely diminished lower.end [which] show Brancusi 's e f for ts to detach the work from the.base and from the ground,, to l ighten the form and push i t upwards . " 1 6 3 On the other hand, as has been noted, the Yellow Bi rd operates as t rans i t ion —it i s thus not t o ta l l y freed.from the ear th ly ; rea lm. The Yellow B i rd mediates between the earthbound and the freedom of f l i g h t , between mater ia l i t y and i t s d i sso lu t i on , and between p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y and s p i r i t u a l i t y . Yet th is mediation is no longer mechanical, nor does i t seem to involve any hint of the underlying socia l protest which grounded the Maiastra in i t s h i s t o r i c matrix.- As Brancusi 's works leave the ear th , they also abandon the human s i t ua t i on . "Another s i gn i f i can t di f ference also separates the two conceptions. There i s no reference to sexual d i f fe ren t ia t ion or ac t i v i t y in the Yellow B i rd as there had been in the Maiastra;, and even more so in the Leda; This charac te r i s t i c holds true for a l l of the remainder of the animal works yet to be explored. I t seems, • ' speaking in advance, that Brancusi de l iberate ly deleted sexual i ty from his post war creat ions. Its conspicuous absence seems pa r t i cu la r l y odd ;when i t i s considered that motion, espec ia l l y mechanical motion from which the Maiastra draws i nsp i r a t i on , was often used as a metaphor for sexual a c t i v i t y in the pre-war and war time work of Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp, both fr iends of Brancusi. Furthermore, a l l aspects 161 of human sexual i ty were the primary focus of the su r rea l i s t s in the post war period. They used i t to both point out and free themselves from soc ia l repression. In his asexual animals, however, Brancusi dist inguished himself from, th is section of the avant-garde and his pre-war work. Here again, he seems to overlap somewhat with Leger and consequently, the " c a l l to order." Green notes that Leger's f igure paintings of the ear ly 19201s are also completely asexual. Green s ta tes , " . . . t h e mechanical c l a s s i c nude remained for him essen-t i a l l y the vehic le of . . . a purely asexual power held in check by an exact, modern, sense of s t ruc ture . " This " . . . c l ass i ca l idea of order was ' inev i tab ly associated with the machine and the manufactured object , since these created the fee l ing for order special to the t ime." ' ' ' 7 As we sha l l see however, Brancusi did not hold sexual i ty in check through the modern mass produced machine, but rather through the eternal s p i r i t . His a l l i ance with Leger and the " c a l l to order" was, once again, only i l lusory. . Brancusi 's denial of the mechanical, the material and the h i s -t o r i c a l , and his quest for the absolute, the eternal and the sp i r i t ua l expressed through the metaphor of f l i g h t reached i t s f i na l state in the Birds in Space. F i r s t appearing in 1922 (or 1921), these images were cont inual ly ref ined by Brancusi. unt i l the early 1940's. The Bi rds  in Space take the trend towards v e r t i c a l i t y and abstract ion found in the Yellow Bi rd to i t s fur thest possible extreme. The basic con-ception consists in each case of an upr ight , attenuated, e l l i p t i c a l shape. An angular t runcat ion.at the upper end i s the resul t of the 162 further s imp l i f i ca t i on of the mouth to a f l a t ova l . The whole is set on a sma l l , f l a red base. In p r o f i l e , a s t ra ight spinal ridge contrasts with a gently arching breast. The anatomical designations are , however,; arb i t rary as nothing of the shape, except i t s prece-dents, contains any b io log ica l reference to a b i r d . The drive towards abstract ion and general izat ion continued as Brancusi ref ined the formal configurat ions in the fol lowing decades. Step by step he increased the height, and inversely narrowed the g i r t h . The footing was integrated into the sculpture as a whole by modifying the f i r s t t r iangu lar shape into one that gently curved upwards. The Birds in Space deny a l l the inherent qua l i t i es of marble, except i t s a b i l i t y to take a po l i sh . D i f f i c u l t i e s in adapting the form to the material resul ted in delays in i t s production. (The f i r s t known photograph of t h i s . i dea dates from 1922. The f i r s t extant vers ion , from the fo l lowing year. Jianou dates i t s f i r s t appearance as 1921.) Several versions have broken at the narrow juncture of the foot ing and the body. The ear ly vers ions, were, in f ac t , composed of.two joined pieces. To s t a b i l i z e and strengthen the form, Brancusi d r i l l e d a hole about two-thirds of the length of the p iece, and inserted a brass rod. The denial of mater ia l i t y and the abstract representation of f l i g h t and space, have resulted in a. general ly held in terpretat ion of the work as the expression of s p i r i t u a l i t y . Its Romanian designation confirms th is observation. Spear points out the t i t l e "Pasarea:vazduhului (Bird of the Ether) . . . implies that the b i r d , 163 freed from i t s earthly bounds, already belongs to a d i f ferent wor ld, 18 to a higher and Tighter atmosphere."" Geist has issued a s im i la r set of statements. "B i rd in Space, in i t s l a te r examples, releases a euphoria of e levat ion. I ts shaping u l t imately answers the needs not of a poetry of the av ian, but of an imagination of f l i g h t , f l i g h t as ascent, as e f fo r t l ess r i s i n g , 19 as freedom from grav i ty , as transcendence of the earthly human." Although Ge is t ' s la te r observations added certain secondary character-i s t i c s , he preserved.his o r i g ina l ' perception "Brancusi 's image of dream f l i gh t , r i s i ng with a grace and ease that leave behind i t s 20 own heavy matter." "It makes an image of sp i r i t ua l f l i g h t , at once the nocturnal and euphoric f l i g h t of e ro t i c dream and the f l i g h t of 21 the sou l . i n i t s urge to transcendence." While the sp i r i t ua l aspect of the Birds i s important, i t cannot be taken as a complete in te rpre ta t ion . The use of motion as a means of overcoming or con t ro l l ing the l im i ta t ions of material ex istence, here embodied in Brancusi 's triumph over the l im i ta t ions of marble, combined with an evolutionary process involv ing the invention of ever newer forms directed by a sp i r i t ua l presence has already been observed in Brancusi 's e a r l i e s t keyworks—the K i s s , the Sleeper and the Muse. They are a l l d i rec t l y 2; re lated to Bergson s philosophy of creat ive evolution and elan v i t a l e . Indeed, the minute graduations of change which character ize the ent i re ser ies are also strongly related to Bergson's concept of durat ion. Each work, i t is t rue , was created and must be perceived separately 164 in time. Yet when seen as a whole, they co l l ec t i ve l y present an almost cinematic ser ies which draws them together into an unbounded continuum. As c lose ly as stable-sculpture can, then, they approximate the continuous process of an evo lu t ion , directed towards the f i na l freedom of the s p i r i t . Taken as such, they also confirm Brancusi 's continued adherence to another of Bergson's concepts, that of i n t u i t i o n . According to the phi losopher, only i n tu i t i on can perceive th is continuous evolu-t ionary process—it i s beyond the powers :of reason. Reason, to the contrary, breaks things down into i nd i v i dua l , iso la ted movements and e n t i t i e s . "The i n t e l l e c t i s not made to think evolution . . . the cont inui ty of change that i s pure mobi l i ty . . . . t h e i n t e l l e c t represents becoming as a ser ies of s ta tes , each of which i s homogeneous 22a with i t s e l f and consequently does not change." Brancusi 's use of i n tu i t i on is emphasized by his statement that "the ideal of the rea l i za t i on of t h i s object [The Birds in Space! would be an enlarge-23 ment to f i l l the vault of the sky." The concept underlying th is statement emphasizes the ideal of the continuous over the discon-t inuous, and hence in tu i t i on over reason. The conjunction of i n tu i t i on with s p i r i t u a l i t y and the concept of the continuous in Brancusi leads us to seek a precise corres-pondence in Bergson. Indeed, Bergson states that we recognize the " . . . unity of sp i r i t ua l l i f e . . . only when we place ourselves 23a in i n tu i t i on in order to go from i n tu i t i on to i n t e l l e c t . " But Bergson goes fur ther ; he, l i k e Brancusi , places the material body in 165 opposit ion to the s p i r i t : . . . a philosophy of i n tu i t i on w i l l be a negation of sc ience, w i l l be..sooner.'.'or'later swept away by sc ience, i f i t does not resolve to see the l i f e of the body just where i t r ea l l y i s , on the road that leads to the l i f e of the s p i r i t . But i t w i l l then no.longer have to do with de f in i te l i v i n g beings. L i f e as a whole, from the i n i t i a l impulsion that thrust i t into the world, w i l l appear as a wave which r i s e s , and which is opposed by the descending movement of matter.23b As a material expression of the immaterial , that i s the s p i r i t u a l , Brancusi 's Birds in Space are as paradoxical as the1 Kiss and Sculpture for the B l i nd . Indeed, the Birds in Space bridge the gap between mater ia l i t y and s p i r i t u a l i t y by showing how one can be transformed into the other, jus t as a discontinuous f i n i t e object (a sculpture) can be conceived as continuous and i n f i n i t e — i . e . i t can both express durat ion, evolut ion and i t can " f i l l the sky." Thus Brancusi has assimi lated the sp i r i t ua l into the material and vice versa. As Levi-Strauss says, " L ' e s p r i t aussi est une chose, le fonctionnement de cette chose nous i n s t r u i t sur la nature des choses: merrie la re f lec t ion pure se resume en une i n te r i o r i za t i on du cosmos. Sous 23c une forme symbolique, e l l e i l l u s t r e la structure de T'en-dehors." Brancusi 's continued adherence to Bergson's value of i n tu i t i on and s p i r i t u a l i t y over reason and science separated him further however from other members of the avant garde of the post-war per iod. This was the case with those, l i k e Leger and L i p c h i t z , who were under the inf luence of the " c a l l to order," as well as the dadaists and s u r r e a l i s t s . The former were, by 1920, using mathematical proposit ions and rat ional structures to create an art based on reason. As Green points out: 166 . . . between 1917 and 1920 Leonce Rosenburg, Severini and Paul . Dermee had stood together for the reinstatement of reason as the only instrument by which to fashion an aesthet ic and there-fore a s t y l e . Reason gave in tu i t i on a d i rec t i on , and i t s most uncompromising product was science.24 The dadais ts , on the other' hand, rejected reason wholesale, although in tu i t i on was not the i r aim. The su r rea l i s t s also rejected reason, but g l o r i f i e d i n tu i t i on only to the extent that i t could be confused with Freud's concept of the subconscious. Furthermore, the ser ies of Birds in Space also separates Brancusi from Leger's adherence to; the machine aesthet ic of mass pro-duct ion, as expressed in h i s paintings of the ear l y '1920 's . Despite the i r close s i m i l a r i t i e s of t he i r evolving forms, none of Brancusi 's Birds in Space could have been made by mass production. In 1936 Brancusi looked back on h is ser ies of b i rds : " ' In the l as t B i rds , the di f ferences between them hardly appear in photographs. Each, ; however, i s a new i nsp i r a t i on , independent of the preceding one. I could show your f r iend the i r subtle di f ferences on some p laster 25 c a s t s . ' " Each one, in Brancusi.'s eyes, carr ied with i t the idea of the absolutely new. Thus they carry the Maiastra 's negation of tech-no log ica l development to an .extreme,of den ia l . They are not mass produced, repet i t i ve and mechanical;, but i n d i v i d u a l , unique and hand craf ted. Their intent ion is not to be contemporary, but time-l e s s , e te rna l . But while the i r subtle dif ferences subvert the idea of mass production while simultaneously seeming to express i t , these same minute d is t inc t ions make i t , as Brancusi 's statement ind ica tes , almost impossible for the rat ional mind to perceive the d is t inc t ions 167 between them. The changes are , as has been s a i d , more of a continuous f low than an abrupt.and discontinuous ser ies of states homogeneous with themselves. One cannot say, however, that Brancusi 's s e r i e s , or his oeuvre as a whole, i s a programmatic sculptural i l l u s t r a t i o n of Bergson's philosophy, despite the fact that he remained fa i th fu l to i t s basic precepts and premises into the twenties and la te r when most others were abandoning them. S ign i f i can t di f ferences also separate the two. For example, in Bergson's philosophy animals and humans, are arranged in separate, pa ra l le l and h ie ra t i c evolutionary orders with humans at the apex. The two divergent evolut ionary paths were joined only once, at the or ig inal , point at which the v i t a l impetus entered matter. Much o f . t h i s overlaps with Brancusi 1 s system. Animals and humans are jo ined at t he i r point of o r i g i n , the Beginning of the World/  Sculpture for the B l i nd . Yet as in many mythological systems, the two species are interchangeable through magical transformations, as embodied in the Maiast ra, the Penguins and Leda. Furthermore, Bergson considered humanity to be the zenith of the evolut ionary process. Radical there fore , a l s o , i s the dif ferences 'between animal consciousness, even the most i n t e l l i g e n t , and human conscious-ness. For consciousness corresponds exact ly to the l i v i n g beings power of choice: . . . consciousness i s synonymous with invention and freedom. Now, in the animal, invention is never anything but a var ia t ion on the theme of rout ine. . . . With man, consciousness breaks the chain. In man, and in man alone, i t sets i t s e l f f ree. The whole history of l i f e un t i l man has been that of the e f fo r t of consciousness to ra ise matter and of, the more or less complete overwhelming of consciousness by the matter which has fa l l en back on i t . The enterpr ise was paradoxical . . . . It was to create with 168 matter, which is necessity i t s e l f , an instrument of freedom, to make a machine which should triumph over mechanism, and to use the determination of nature to pass through the meshes of the net which th is very determinism had spread.25a With the Birds in F l i g h t , Brancusi' has inverted Bergson by using f l y i ng birds as a metaphor.for the free motion of the s p i r i t , l ibera ted from confines of. matter over consciousness. In f ac t , f l i g h t would appear to be a more appropriate metaphor for freedom from the struggle of elan v i t a l e over material existence. Technological f l i g h t , seen in the f i r s t Maiastra, only fol lows in imi tat ion of that of b i rds . The equation and transformation of animals and humans is con-versely in keeping with mythological systems in general. Brancusi may thus have been modifying aspects of Bergson's philosophy that were incompatable with mythology. But above a l l , in placing a b i r d , or rather the object ive re-presentation of the subject ive idea of b i rd as s p i r i t at the apex of his c rea t ion , Brancusi again disavowed the diachronic elements introduced in the Maiastra at the beginning of the se r i es . He repudiated technological development, as represented by mechanical f l i g h t , and h is to ry , through his t imeless, mythic image of the f l i g h t of birds and the s p i r i t . Timeless i s once more the operative word here. As is the case with Lev i -St rauss ' metaphor of music, Brancusi 's Bi rds in  Space, which developed over time and must be seen over time (espec ia l ly now that they are scattered) use time only to deny i t . Lacking a c l ass i ca l or Romanian mythological subject , they deny time through 168 A - 1927 169 the cont inui ty of t he i r evolving forms. Like the i n t u i t i ve perception of Bergsonian evo lu t ion, which would occur, i t would seem,in a s ing le instance, these birds can be held by. the mind in a s ingle instant . They are irredemibly synchronic despite the diachronic nature of t he i r production and the perception of the i r material expression. Herein l i e s the f i n a l underlying reason for his sh i f t to the s p i r i t u a l . For his birds to get o f f the ground Brancusi had to j e t t i s o n , in Ge is t ' s words, "the earthly human," i . e . Brancusi 's s o c i a l i s t ideas and sexual content. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between an eternal and unchanging mythology and a progressive soc ia l consciousness during World War I Brancusi opted for the former. He was therefore obliged to move to a "d i f fe ren t wor ld, to a higher and l i gh te r atmosphere;" the s p i r i t u a l was his only a l te rna t i ve . In so doing, he created a f i na l work which was the precise opposite of his f i r s t important piece: the K iss . The Kiss emphasizes the nature of the material from which i t i s composed. The Birds in Space deny i t . The Kiss is about sexual i ty! ; and thus about cycles of l i f e and death. The Birds in Space are about the s p i r i t u a l , and the eternal and absolute. The Kiss i n i t i a t e s the cycle of material ex is tence, the Birds in Space terminate i t . The Kiss i s based on s o c i a l ideal ism, the Birds on sp i r i t ua l ideal ism. Thus, the two works form the central opposit ional axis around which a l l of Brancusi 1 s works .rotate. The Birds in Space stand not only at end of the B i rd s e r i e s , but also at the end of the system as a whole. 170 They represent the fur thest possible extension of the ideas inherent in the o r ig ina l works and in Bergson's philosophy which could be expressed in sculptural form. As was the case with Bergson, the whole of Brancusi 's sculptural philosophy was constructed around an inherent dualism between the material (body) and the s p i r i t u a l realm. Thus the termination was implied by the point of o r i g i n . Edmund Leach makes th is point by extending.Levi-Stauss' musical metaphor: "the l as t movement of a symphony i s presupposed by i t s beginning jus t as the end of a myth is 26 already implicit-Where i t began." The whole, seen in retrospect , as returning to i t s point of o r ig in with another t imeless statement, is beginning to form a "synchronic t o t a l i t y , enclosed within i t s e l f . " 171 Footnotes: Chapter VI 1. Spear. 2. Christopher Green,.Leger and the Avant-Garde, p. 84. Geist gives the date of t h i s v i s i t as 1920, but, as no report of a' Salon d 'Aviat ion was found in that year , and as he does not c i te his source, Green seems more correct . Ge is t , 1975, p. 116. 3. Cited in Green, p. 84. 4. I b i d . , p., 85. 5. I b i d . , p. 93. 6. I b i d . , p. 96. 7. I b i d . , p. 120. 8. Ib id . 9. Spear, p. 37. 10. I b i d . , pp. 9-10. 11. I b i d . , p. 6. 12. A poem en t i t l ed "Pasarea Maiast ra , " published in 1925 and repr inted in Spear contains such references. Spear, pp. 118-119. 13. Green, p. 81. 14. See Leach, p. 115. 15. Lev i -Stauss, The Raw and the Cooked, pp. 15-16. 16'.* Cited in Spear, p. 37. 16a. ' I b i d . , p. 14. 17. Green, p. 249. 18. Spear, p. 15. 19. Ge is t , 1968, p. 129. 172 20. Ge is t , 1969, p.. 115. 21. I b i d . , p. 133. 22. See espec ia l l y , Bergson, Creat ive , pp. 252-253. 22a. I b i d . , p. 171. 23. Cited in Ge is t , 1965, p. 115. 23a. Bergson, op. c i t . , pp. 281-282. 23b. I b i d . , pp. 283-284. 2.3c. Lev i -St rauss, La Pense Sauvage, c i ted in Marc Liphnsky, p. 238. 24. Green, p. 203.; 25. I b i d . , p. U 5 . 25a. Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 278. 26. Leach, p. 115. 173 CHAPTER VII The fourth and f i na l ser ies in Brancusi 's stone works completes the symmetrical arrangements discovered in Brancusi 's synchronic system thus fa r . This s e r i e s , Tike the Birds which i t p a r a l l e l s , has been observed by Spear, although she did not invest igate i t s development, s ign i f icance or h i s to r i ca l se t t ing . In opposition to the B i r ds , th is ser ies i s composed, with the exception of the mediating Leda, of non-bird forms. The two ser ies were developed during the same per iod, that i s from the end of World War I to the ear ly 1940's. They a r e , l i k e the two human se r i es , both l o g i c a l l y and chronological ly p a r a l l e l . The bird and animal ser ies form a coordinated group when seen as a t o t a l i t y . They share a common point of or ig in—Sculpture for  the Blind—and a common termination^—the Birds in Space. When these two l inked ser ies are jo in ted to the human ser ies through the mediating element of the Sculpture for the B l i n d , a symmetrical arrangement resul ts , in. which both larger groups also stand in a para l le l and an opposit ional re la t ionsh ip . When th i s f i n a l conf igurat ion i s invest igated, the broader underlying ideas and categories which unify Brancusi 's sculptural universe f i n a l l y become c lear . To para-phrase Brancusi , the whole i s simultaneously simple, yet complex. A deta i led examination of the components of the animal ser ies and a.discussion of the general context of the animal images in the 174 sculpture of the f i r s t decades of th is century are, however, essent ia l to understand the place of Brancusi 's animal images in his oeuvre as a whole. Brancusi 's use of animals as subject matter. for sculpture was not unique. In f ac t , small scale animal works which f i t into apartment environments were popular with both bourgeois co l lec tors and a r t i s t s since the decl ine in state commissions for monumental publ ic works during the late T800's. These academic pieces became increasingly popular in the f i r s t three decades of th is century, with a su f f i c i en t demand to support a small group of a r t i s t s who exhibi ted regular ly at the Salon d'Automne in the Grand Pa la i s . Two fac to rs , however, ind icate that Brancusi was not simply responding to the .exigencies of the marketplace. The f i r s t of these l i e s in the forms he employed. A comparison between a piece such as Francois Pompon's Coq and the bronze work of a s im i la r name by Brancusi i l l u s t r a t e s the dif ference between the two a r t i s t s ' concerns. 1 Although Pompon was, Tike Brancusi , formerly an ass is tant to Rodin, and reportedly carved "en f a i l l e d i rec te , " t he i r respective conceptions bear l i t t l e resemblance * Pompon's Coq i s decorat ive, and borders on being merely a r e a l i s t i c f igur ine of a popular subject with n a t i o n a l i s t i c connotations, an oversized b ibe lo t , very close in form to Gasper's Cog Gautois. Brancusi 's Coq i s , by contrast , challenging and innovative in a manner that bespeaks of his sel f -conscious place in avant-garde developments. A new form in Bergson's terminology, and hence an advance in a r t i s t i c evo lu t ion, 175 Brancusi 's Cog i s related to i t s ostensib le subject only through i t s t i t l e and the expressive power of i t s nearly abstract forms. As a.consequence, i t had a very small market appeal. Brancusi , had, in f ac t , abandoned his f a c i l e a b i l i t y to produce p leas ing, r e a l i s t i c and read i ly saleable forms ear ly in his career. His refusal to exp lo i t th is ta len t -a f te r 1907, at a time when avant garde sculpture had l i t t l e market at a l l , indicates that the source of his animal imagery, unl ike that of Pompon's, l i e s elsewhere than in the nexus of supply and demand. Furthermore, unl ike other sculptors such as the p r o l i f i c Bugatti who created whole menageries, Brancusi created only a l imi ted number of animal works, and sold only a portion of these, even af ter the market for his work increased. One must not assume, however, that animal images were unknown in avant garde sculpture around.the time of Brancusi 's f i r s t use of them, or that the avant garde, or Brancusi for that matter, were completely divorced from the necessity of s e l l i n g the i r work. Duchamp-V i l l o n ' s four animal r e l i e f panels depict ing ca ts , dogs, parrots, and doves, shown at the Salon d'Automne in 1913 are d i rect evidence that even members of the most advanced c i r c l e s could and did create pleasing decorative, work. Nor should we overlook his r e a l i s t i c Cog r e l i e f panel of 1916, which was used as an ornament for a theatre set up for the troops at the f ront and hence necessar i ly represen-ta t iona l in nature. At the same time, animal sculpture occupied a s i gn i f i can t place in the subject matter of less decorative and more experimental work by the avant garde, inc luding Duchamp V i l l o n . 176 His Horse of 1914 comes immediately to mind, as. does Gaudier Brzeska's Stags and Birds Erect of the same year. Brancusi ,was then, working wi thin a convention and employing a vocabulary which had already been estab l ished. But despite the i r re la t ionship <to other animal sculptures of the per iod, both academic.and avant garde, Brancusi 's ser ies is of a d i f fe rent nature. This di f ference Ties as much in the i r content as in the i r forms. In the f i na l analysis Brancusi 's choice of animal subjects consisted of a l imi ted but in ter re la ted repetoi re. They must be seen in the i r re la t ionship to each other to be f u l l y understood. Although diverse in form, they had a common- and given the i r re la t ionship to, the Bi rd series^-even a predictable.preoccupat ion. Nonetheless, th is ser ies i s the most problematic in Brancusi 's oeuvre: the problematic nature is f i r s t apparent in the determination of i t s or ig ins and scope. It w i l l be reca l led that Brancusi seems to have replaced the Penguins with the la te r Leda, which effected an easier transformation between the animal s e r i e s , the Maiastra and-Sculpture for the B l i n d , as well as conforming to his ideological reversa l . A second problem of inc lus ion and exclusion ar ises with the aforementioned Cog. I t , l i k e Leda, the Penguins and the Maiastra,• i s a f l i g h t l e s s b i rd and has been seen, l i k e the Birds in Space, to represent the aspirat ions of the s p i r i t . Unlike these works, and a l l the others examined here, however, i t was o r i g i n a l l y carved in wood, and was never recreated in stone, only bronze. . I t is doubtful i f i t s top heavy form, set on a thin l e g , could ever'have been success-" 1 7 7 f u l l y executed in marble, even i f a system of in ternal support was arranged. In- keeping with the methodological ou t l i ne , based on a grouping by mater ia l , the Cog must then be excluded from th is study, despite the apparent overlap in i t s conception. The second problem with the animal ser ies l i e s in the forms themselves. The animal, works do not evolve with the smooth, minute and continuous transformations which character ize Brancusi 's develop-ment of the Birds in Space from the i n i t i a l Maiastra and Sculpture  for the Blind.. This process seems to have been rendered impossible by the d i ve rs i t y of creatures which he used. Nonetheless, a coherent concept l inks the various animals. Each i s concerned not only with an animal subject, but also with the medium through which that animal moves. Brancusi 's preoccupation with motion and i t s re la t ionsh ip to Bergson need not be repeated here. Suf f ice i t to say that each work in the ser ies implies through e i ther i t s forms or i t s t i t l e , or more commonly, through both, a state and medium of motion and that the major problem of the ser ies is e f fec t ing a transformation from the earth/water world of Leda to the airborne Birds in Space, fo l lowing however, an a l ternat ive opposit ional path to that of the Bi rd se r ies . Since most of th is ser ies was created af ter the f i r s t Birds  in Space, i t s direct ion.was predetermined and predictable. Given th is condi t ion, and Brancusi 's growing i so la t ion from his own h i s to r -i ca l s i tua t ion and the avant garde during the creation of the animal s e r i e s , i t lacks much of the semantic richness found in the humans and the ear ly war-time work. In fac t , Brancusi appears to be working backwards to a solut ion 1 already establ ished as ear ly as 1920. As we shal l see, th is synchronic denial of time and evolution resul ts in his f i na l conception of the ear ly 1940's l i nk ing up conceptually and formally with the f i r s t Birds in Space of twenty years e a r l i e r . The length of time i t took Brancusi to resolve the ser ies i s ind ica t ive of both the underlying cont inui ty of h is ideas, which he did not abandon but continued working on, and his trouble in f inding an e f fec t ive transformation. Indeed, the f i na l resolut ion although precise and unmistakeable in i t s in ten t ion , has the appearance of the makeshift about i t . The f i r s t work in the ser ies fol lowing Leda iso la tes the medium of motion which dist inguishes Leda from the Maiastra—that of water. In 1922, Brancusi carved a marble F i sh . Despite the cont inui ty of concept between the aquatic Leda and the F ish , . the forms are d i s -s i m i l a r , although the ovoid of Sculpture for the B l ind underl ies each. The Fish f la t tens th is ovoid and becomes a long, th in e l l i p s e , pointed at one end, which bulges s l i g h t l y at the centre and tapers towards the edges. In defiance of g rav i t y , the Fish i s mounted on i t s thin edge, f l oa t ing over a polished metal mirror . The appearance of motion through water as the p r inc ip le meaning of the Fish is unmistakable. Geist confirms th is aspect of the work. " F i s h , while a poetic version of the natural forms, is essen-t i a l l y the image of f l u i d i t y , of f l o a t i n g , of passage without 2 f r i c t i o n . " He describes a larger l a te r version in blue marble as "an image of a la rge, blunted submarine creature which seems to hover on i t s small mounting. The pol ished and veined surface car r ies an 3 i l l u s i o n of passage through water." Brancusi , in his customary c ryp t ic s t y l e , was to emphasize the importance of motion in his conception of the F ish . "When you see a f i s h , you do not th ink.of i t s sca les , do you? You think o f i t s speed, i t s f l o a t i n g , f lash ing body seen through water . . . W e l l , I've t r i ed to express jus t that. I f I made f i n s , and eyes and sca les , I would arrest i t s movement and hold a pattern and a shape of r e a l i t y . I want jus t the f lash 4 of i t s s p i r i t . " But the Fish should, i f the problem posed at the outset i s cor rect , also suggest a t rans i t ion to f l i g h t , or movement in a i r . In,, f ac t , l i k e a f l y i ng f i s h , i t f loa ts above a mirrored surface, in the a i r , as i t were. This i s accomplished by balancing the Fish care-f u l l y on i t s p la te . This combination of equi l ibr ium and f l i g h t suggests a source for Brancusi 's unique conception. In 1911, L ' I l l u s t r a t i o n carr ied an a r t i c l e on."1 'Equi l ibre des Poissons dans 1'eau" by F. Honore. Etudier les conditions. d.1-.equilibre du poissons dans l 'eau avee l ' espo i r de~trouver des preceptes appl icables a 1 'equi l ib re des navires Seriens semble au premier abord une entreprise chimerique. L ' a i r et l ' eau , les gaz et les l i qu ides , possedent, en e f fec t , des proprietes generales f o r t d i f fe rentes . Les gaz sont compressibles, l 'eau ne l ' e s t point'; le mi l ieu 1 i qui de, [-d i t - on , es t , contrairement a l ' a i r , depourvu d ' e l a s t i c i t e . However, as the a r t i c l e points out, the contradict ion is only apparent, not r e a l , and may be overcome. Indeed , . . i t ' i l l us t ra tes wooden 180 models of f i s h , (with f i n s ) , which were'used'to.'study forms' ideal for f l i g h t . The studies were pa r t i cu la r l y usefu l , .as "Pour ne c i t e r qu'un example, un simple poisson nous revel era tout a l 'heure certans defauts du Zeppel in . " Just as motion and Zeppelins were a source of images for Brancusi , so was the concept of evo lut ion. The a r t i c l e explains that " l es poissons, au cours de 1 1 evolut ion durant des m i l l i e r s d'annees qui a produit les formes ac tue l l es , furent modeles peu a par les tourb i l lons de 1'eau q u ' i l s depiacent en avangiant."^ This form seems to.be what Brancusi t r i ed to capture. Brancusi 's Fish was, however, a denial of-evolut ion rather than i t s a f f i rmat ion. Brancusi 's " s p i r i t " of f i sh represents his ideal of i t s essense, that i s the form which underlies a l l f i s h for a l l t ime; i t is t imeless in in ten t , despite the fact that , l i k e the Yellow B i r d , i t s forms coincide with contemporary technological innova-t i on . Thus, once again, Brancusi subverted b io log ica l and technological evolution by using a t imeless synchronic statement.: The combination of mechanical and:animal motion expressed in an aerodynamic form in the Fish is however, in opposit ion to that of the Yellow B i r d : • as the Yellow Bird-ascends to the heights, the Fish descends to the depths. Nonetheless, as has been the case throughout the oeuvre, th i s opposit ion i s made e x p l i c i t and obscured at the same time. I t has not ye t , however, been resolved. The l as t remaining problem with the-Fish i s i t s possible, personal connotations. Given Brancusi 's i den t i f i ca t i on with the other works in his oeuvre, i t would be sur-181 pr is ing i f th is image of the s p i r i t of f i sh did not have a broader personal s ign i f i cance . Giedon-Welder. reports that Brancusi , in f ac t , regarded the Fish almost as .h is emblem as "he was born on February 21st Q under the signs of Pisces and Jup i te r . " . The emphasis on the Fish as s p i r i t also suggest possible ear ly Chr is t ian iconographic assoc ia t ions , as the f i s h was a symbol of Chr i s t . I t w i l l . b e reca l led that the impulse towards sp i r i t ua l .purity suggested here i s made more e x p l i c i t in la te r works. I f the conjunction of Chr is t and the personal symbol are acceptable, we see again the appearance of an elevated concept of the a r t i s t , which was f i r s t expressed in the Muse and Prometheus. Indeed, i t would appear that Brancusi remained fa i th fu l to his ideal of the a r t i s t as someone in touch with the divine who suffered. This concept of a r t i s t as a Prometheus/Christ f i gu re , such as we see implied here, is a throwback to Gauguin, the symbolists and Rodin. As Caso and Sanders point out in the i r commentary on Rodin's "Chr is t and the Magdalene:" The sel f -concept of the late-nineteenth-century a r t i s t natura l ly included an i den t i f i ca t i on with Chr is t . Gauguin, for one, had repeatedly painted himself as Chr is t . Rodin's intent ional use of Chr is t as a type for the man of genius in th is group i s elucidated by a l ternat ive t i t l e s for the work, Prometheus and  anx Ocean id and Prometheus Bound. Throughout the century Prome-theus, who was frequently i den t i f i ed with a r t i s t , was also associated with Chr is t . Both were superior men who suffered for mankind. The a r t i s t and poet frequently saw themselves in th is l i g h t , and on more than one occasion Rodin compared himself with the Greek hero and a sympathetic woman with the Ocean i d . . . . Seen in th is context, then, the Chr is t and  the Magdalene seems to:be one more of Rodin's speculations on the nature of genius and the role of the a r t i s t . I f the work can be associated, in the most'-general sense with the suf fer ing man of genuis and his consoling muse or lover , the associat ions with Chr is t and Prometheus suggest subtle shades of meaning that enrich the essent ia l idea.9 I t also cast subtle shades of meaning on Brancusi 's Fish and consequently, i t s re la t ionsh ip to the Muse and Prometheus. Indeed, i t completes the meanings inherent in the l a t t e r two works. It also indicates that Brancusi was both adhering to ideas he f i r s t expressed in 1911 and remaining true to his f i r s t sources of i nsp i ra t i on . L ike so much else in his oeuvre, his concept of himself did not a l t e r with the vagaries of t ime. The idea of personal sp i r i t ua l f u l f i l l m e n t , which ul t imately suggests the Birds in Space, also points in the d i rect ion of the next work in the ser ies of animals. I t w i l l be reca l led that th is impulse i s contained in a metaphor of motion and that the Fish moves in water, while the Birds in Space are , as the t i t l e s ta tes , in space. The dis junct ion and opposit ion between heights and depths impl ies , then, the expectation that the next work in the ser ies must in some way form a l ink which begins to resolve th is opposi t ion. The S e a l , f in ished about 1936, but s tar ted, according to Ge is t , short ly a f ter the f i r s t F i s h , that i s , about 1924, meets these requirements in both , i t s form and i t s content. 1*^ The Seal combines the forms of Leda.with those of the F i s h , and as w i l l be seen, of the Birds in Space. Geist has again pointed out the f i r s t of these formal re la t ionsh ips . "Almost as minimal in i t s elements as the F i s h , the Seal l i k e the Fish imposes i t s e l f by i t s s i z e . Nor is i t an altogether new image: the d ispos i t ion of i t s volumes is s im i la r to that of L e d a . " 1 1 The jo in ing .o f the unitary form of the Fish with the shape of Leda should also accompany a 183 jo in ing of the two states of motion. The Seal must jo in the submarine world of the Fish with the surface water and landed world of Leda. This i s in fact the case. Seals 1 move in a l l three realms. They mediate between.these oppositions and serve as ideal operators in the con-ceptual transformation between them. Geist has noted th is necessary ambiguity. The Seals' "ambiguity re f lec ts that of i t s natural model, 12 a legless mammal with f ishy powers." The Seal does not yet complete, however, the l ink between the animals and the Birds in Space. Nonetheless, the Seal does seem to aspire to f l i g h t with an upward movement much l i ke that of the Go!den B i r d s . . Indeed, the formal, s i m i l a r i t y is very c lose. Geist points out that the Sea l ' s " f a c i a l plane i s s im i l a r to the bevel in Birds in Space . . . i f the neck of the Seal i s projected beyond the head, the f ac i a l plane.bears the same re la t ion to the tapering mass thus produced as the bevel to the B i rd . (The l as t Birds and the Seal taper at the same s p e e d ) . . . . . . . Uni tary, unaccented on i t s great sur face, the Seal i s s i tuated formally between Leda and Bird in 13 Space." The formal kinship becomes c learer i f the Seal is seen at a low angle from the front so that i t s mass i s obscured and i t s upward motion emphasized. - Yet the Seal does not a t ta in f l i g h t ; . d e s - . 14 p i te . i ts a l t e r n a t i v e . t i t l e , the Mi rac le . We come then, to the f i na l work in the animal se r ies . The foregoing should allow certa in predict ions to be made about both i t s form and content. It must involve the idea of motion. Furthermore th is motion must be capable of being an operator in the transformation 184 of the earth/water realm of the Leda, Fish and Seal into the opposit ion of the open sky of the Birds in Space. Its form should also be predic table. It should, in some manner, combine features of the Seal with those of the B i rds . F i n a l l y , i t , l i ke the Birds in Space, should sublimate sexual i ty into s p i r i t u a l i t y . But of most importance, the work must be the f i na l conception in the oeuvre. Hypothet ica l ly , nothing beyond i t , except the.Birds in Space, should be poss ib le , i f the oeuvre i s to maintain i t s in tegr i t y and the analysis of the concerns i s to be deemed correct . A l l of these condit ions are met in the Flying Turtle of 1940/ 1945. It i s , in f ac t , the f i na l new conception introduced into the oeuvre. It i s problematic however in that the subject of the tu r t l e was f i r s t carved in wood, although th is piece has been destroyed. This is the only point , in the work examined, of a crossover between the two media. The form and s ign i f icance of the wooden Tur t le , however, are en t i re l y d i f ferent from those of the marble Fly ing Tur t le . As Geist points out, "Like Bird in Space and F i sh , i t i s a creature that moves in a f l u i d medium, s a t i s f i e d to plane deter-15 minedly in low f l i g h t , a foot above the ground." But although Ge is t ' s assert ion of movement and f l i g h t is cor rect , he is overly precise as to where the tu r t l e moves. He does not rea l i ze that ambiguity can have a very spec i f i c s ign i f i cance , and Fly ing Tur t le , as i t s name impl ies , is ambiguous. It may, as a tu r t l e move both underwater and on land. But when Brancusi turned i t . on i t s back and named i t , he gave i t the magical power of f l i g h t . Thus Fly ing Turt le 185 contains the necessary transformative functions to mediate between the world and motion of the Seals and that of the Birds in Space. It also has a form that is midway between the Seals and the Birds  in F l i gh t . In order to see the s i m i l a r i t y between the three works, the Turt le must be seen from the side rather than from the front or the top. The p ro f i l e image disguises the spade l i ke wing forms by showing, as in the Sea l , an elongated form s l i g h t l y bent upward to emphasize the p o s s i b i l i t y of ascension. On the other hand, and d i s t i nc t from the Sea l , the angle is reduced so that i t becomes very close to the bulging chest of the Birds in Space on one side and to the i r s t ra ight spine on the other. The head sect ion is even truncated, although in th is case, the underlying form is angular rather than round. Formally as well as conceptual ly, the Fly ing Turt le is an intermediary in the l i n g u i s t i c transformation from the realm of the animals to that of the B i rds . No commentary ex is ts on the question of the sublimation of the e ro t i c into the s p i r i t u a l , but i f one instance of symbolic speculat ion may be of fered, i t does seem to be present. The project ing head of the Fly ing Turt le does seem, in the same way as Spear observed i n -the Maiastra, to have a pha l l i c cast . Furthermore, the spade shape of the body may also be interpreted as p h a l l i c . Thus a sexual referent may be in fe r red . This i s tempered, however, by i t s a b i l i t y to f l y . This has been seen as amove to the s p i r i t u a l , both in Bergson's universe, in which even the humblest creature aspires to overcome the l im i ta t ions of material ex istence, and in Brancusi 's 186 Bi rds . Indeed, the Flying Turt le seems to have jumped several stages in creat ive evo lu t ion, and aspires to a .union with the s p i r i t u a l . Lewis has stated that with "the Turt le sculpture, Brancusi . . . wished to show that the. lowl ies t and most modest was capable of 'the journey towards God . ' " 1 6 Thus although the idea of a f l y i ng tu r t l e may seem absurd , given the context of the oeuvre and the log ica l necessity of forming a l ink between the animals and the birds so that the two ser ies could be jo ined, i t s existence becomes not only s i g n i f i c a n t , but a categorical impera-t i v e . Geist sees th is work as having a " f i n a l i t y in the oeuvre" although for d i f fe rent reasons; he supposed that through i t "Brancusi was refusing at the las t moment the log ica l outcome of both his sculptural and sp i r i t ua l progress." He does, however, agree that "Brancusi 's ascentional nature would have found the earth hugging image in to lerab le as a way to close the oeuvre" 1^ and hence endowed i t with the a b i l i t y to f l y . Brancusi may also have iden t i f i ed personal i ty with the Tur t le , which was created in the f i r s t years of the Second World War. It has been establ ished that fol lowing World War I Brancusi was becoming increasingly hermetic in his concerns, and more closed of f from the soc ia l and p o l i t i c a l events which inspired his e a r l i e r work. The Impasse Ronsin seemsto have become, from reports of la te r years, something of a refuge, i f not a hermitage. "Like t h e t u r t l e , Brancusi was providing himself with a protect ive armour from the outside world while maintaining his sp i r i t ua l asp i ra t ions . It remains quite poss ib le , then, that as Geist says, "F ly ing Turt le in Brancusi 's dgfi f lung in the face of f a t e . " ^ With the Fly ing Tur t le , Brancusi f in ished the oeuvre, both phy-s i c a l l y , semantical ly and ph i losoph ica l l y . He had completed the whole. . . . the [ tota l ] body of work is easy to consider as a whole because of the c l a r i t y of i t s physical ou t l ines . Brancusi 's studio was not c lut tered by the sketches and unfinished projects common to most scu lp tors ' s tudios. Besides the f in ished works, there i s a sacred and abandoned marble head of a c h i l d ; a Bird in Space in the i n i t i a l stages of being roughed out; some p las te rs . . . . Thus the oeuvre that Brancusi l e f t us gives the impression of having no loose ends, no gropings in many d i rec t ions , no ult imate f rus t ra t ions . Here is a body of work whose l im i t s appear 'to be per fect ly contained by the a r t i s t . 19 The las t work of the oeuvre in p lace, i t i s now possible to j o in the two ser ies of animals and to l ink these up with the humans. When th is i s done, as in diagram v i , . the c l a r i t y of the structure as a whole becomes apparent., Indeed, th is c l a r i t y almost obscures i t s inherent complexity and the profundity of i t s themes. It i s possible now to see that a central axis runs from the Kiss through the Sculpture fnr t.hp Bl ind to the Birds in Space. This opposit ional axis is based on the Bergsonian d i v i s ion of s p i r i t and matter, here expressed as the sacred and the profane, or the sp i r i t ua l and the sexual. A l l the works are grouped around th is central ax i s . At i t s end po in ts , cul ture i s transformed into nature. In order to go from one end of the opposit ion to the other, one passes from the s p e c i f i c , through the ambiguous to the non-di f ferent iated Sculpture for the Bl ind and then back along a reverse path. This central internal structure both obscures and reconci les the opposit ions and contradict ions in Brancusi 's sculptural discourse. It also corresponds very c lose ly 187 A Immaterial Nature < Sp i r i t ua l > Culture Saered Figure 6 188 to Bergson. "Behind ' s p i r i t u a l i t y ' on the one hand, and 'ma te r ia l i t y ' . . . on the other, there are then two processes opposite in the i r d i r ec t i on , and we pass from the f i r s t to the second by way of inver-20 s ion , or perhaps even by simple in te r rup t ion . " Other opposi t ions, i t becomes c lea r , are arranged in isomorphic se r ies . These are arranged symmetrical ly, and d iv ided" into two larger symmetrically arranged opposing groups, divided between animals and humans. The human ser ies are paired into dyadic re lat ionships according to sex, i . e . male and female, the animals are divided by the medium through which they move, i . e . a i r and water, or high and low. But the structure i t s e l f , now seen as a t o t a l i t y , also reconci les the opposit ion between dyadic and concentric forms of symmetry. Although the ser ies themsevles are arranged in symmetrical opposi t ions, joined at the top and bottom, the progression of states through which each ser ies passes, i . e . from the non-di f ferent iated to the ambiguous to the s p e c i f i c , which run in each d i r ec t i on , is concentr ic , radiat ing outward from the central Sculpture for the B l i nd . In each case, both above and below: the Sculpture for the B l i n d , i s a t r i a d i c arrange-ment, I.e. Princess X—Sculpture for the BIind—Newborn, or Maiastra—  Sculpture for the Blind—Leda (or animal-god-human). Levi-Strauss in Structural Anthropology'has pointed out at great length that when a t r i a d i c arrangement i s grouped so that a symmetrical opposit ion occurs, the resu l t i s , as we have here, a concentric transformation. This s t ructura l arrangement Ties at the core of many forms of pr imi t ive 189 soc ia l groupings. Shalevy has d i s t i l l e d Levi-:Strauss' observations on these st ructures. "The problem i s , then, threefo ld : (1) to explain the nature of diametric s t ruc ture, (2) to explain the nature of concentric s t ruc ture, and (3) to explain how most diametric structures present both a symmetrical character . . . and an asymmetrical character, so that they are midway between absolutely symmetrical 21 soc ie t ies and the asymmetrical concentric forms." This overview of the ent i re structure also reveals other pre-v iously concealed re la t ionsh ips . For example, the f i r s t works-, the Muses, are insp i ra t iona l in nature, they sublimate the s p i r i t u a l into the sexual , the f i na l works are. asp i ra t i ona l , they sublimate the sexual into the s p i r i t u a l . The Sleeper i s s t a t i c , the Birds in Soace, conversely, are free to move in a l l d i rec t ions . The ent i re oeuvre exhib i ts a highly d i sc ip l i ned and coherent i n te l l ec tua l in f ras t ruc ture . Like a piece of music i t may be enjoyed on many d i f fe rent l eve l s . A l s o ' l i k e mythologies in general i t . . . . makes demands pr imar i ly on the neuromental aspects because of the length of the nar ra t ion, the recurrance of cer ta in themes, and the other forms of back references and . pa ra l l e l s which can only be cor rec t ly grasped i f the l i s t e n e r ' s . mind surveys, as i t were, the whole range of the story as i t unfolded.21 a The whole becomes, also Tike a piece of music, an enclosed synchronic t o t a l i t y . The f i na l stage in th is denial of time would be to return to the point of o r i g i n , the K iss . Indeed, as has been s ta ted, Brancusi" did t h i s . The l as t stone work that he created was a f i na l version ca l led Boundary Marker, of 1945. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , th is may have been his f i na l statement against a second war. Although Geist bel ieves that i t may have been done in response to S t a l i n ' s par t i t ion ing of Romania in the Tate years of World War I I , and thus a statement of n a t i o n a l i s t i c sentiment, th is i s probably not the 22 case. Its protest l i e s in a d i f fe rent area. More l i k e l y , th is image of love, which Geist also recognizes, i s in keeping with i t s point of o r i g i n , a ca l l to the d isso lu t ion of boundaries through love, be i t sexual , sp i r i t ua l or that of brotherhood. Whatever the case, th is image returns us to the i n i t i a l work with which Brancusi began his sculptural language. The f i na l boundaries which Brancusi erased were ul t imately those of time. 191 Footnotes—Chapter VIII 1. Pompon's Coq is i l l u s t r a t e d in The Studio, Vo l . 86, 1923, pp. 58-59. 2. Ge is t , 1968, p. 82. 3. I b i d . , p. 107. 4. Brancusi to Malvina Hoffman, c i ted in J ianou, n.p. 5. F. Honore, "L 'equ i l i b re des poissons dans l ' e a u i n L ' I l l u s t r a t i o n , 16 December 1911, p. 500. 6. Ib id. 7. Ib id. 8. C. Giedion-Welcker, in J ianou, pp. 9. De Caso and Sanders, p. 94. 10. Ge is t , 1968, p. 191. 11. I b i d . , p. 116. 12. Ge is t , 1969, p. 132. 1.3. Ge is t , 1968, pp. 116-117. 14. It seems that seals had a deep personal s ign i f icance for Brancusi . Various reports .indicate that he kept a f i l e of pictures of them in his a t e l i e r . No statement has been found, however, on th is s ign i f i cance , e i ther by Brancusi or his commentators. A p o s s i b i l i t y also ex is ts that the Seal contains a reference to Rodin's Balzac. Elsen has pointed out that "small p laster car icatures of the sculpture . . . were made and sold in the streets of Pa r i s . One of these in the Rodin Museum at Phi ladelphia shows a seal in the posi t ion of Balzac; on i t s base i s wri t ten "One Step Forward," a jes t ing reference both to the pose and to the notion of Rodin's leadership in scu lp ture . " Also El sen, Rodin (New York: The Museum of Modern A r t , 1963), p. 103. 192 15. Ge is t , 1968, p. 133. 16. Lewis, p. 38. 17. Ge is t , 1969, p. 135. 18. Ib id. 19. Ge is t , 1975, pp. 14-15. 20. Bergson, Creat ive, p. 212. 21. Shalevy, p. 89. 21a. Lev i -St rauss, The Raw and the Cooked, p. 16. 22. Ge is t , 1978, p. 80. CONCLUSION Brancusi 's stone works, when seen as a t o t a l i t y and examined in a s t r u c t u r a l i s t framework based on Claude Lev i -St rauss ' theor ies , form a rat ional whole. This t o t a l i t y may, in turn , be accurately termed a language system. As in any language system, nothing i s without s ign i f i cance . Information i s coded in the forms and content of each piece. A l l i t s parts are coherently re la ted . Yet these re la t ionships are of a. special order, that defined as "concrete l og i c " or "mythological thought" which Levi-Strauss says characterizes pr imi t ive s o c i e t i e s . One i s , in f ac t , tempted to c a l l Brancusi 's sculptura l system a mythology. He i s , at any ra te , an ideal model of r e a l i t y . The system is so precise that once i t s major premises are s tated, the presence of much of the rest is predic tab le. This qua l i ty of p red i c tab i l i t y i s , in the f i na l ana lys i s , the standard of v a l i d i t y for both the methodology and i t s app l i ca t ion . It also underlines the inheren t l y , ra t i ona l , binary character of Brancusi 's thought, as well as his consistency throughout the ent i re period of. his production. This s t r uc tu ra l i s t ana lys i s , which combines the h i s t o r i c with the l i n g u i s t i c , and the synchronic with the d iachronic, also over-comes a frequent c r i t i c i s m of Levi -Strauss ' theor ies . It i s some-times stated that , even i f v a l i d , h is methodology often impoverishes rather than enriches that to which i t is app l ied. It has been 194 suggested that i t reduces mythological structures of i n f i n i t e .var iety to a few pre-establ ished opposit ions? nature/cu l ture, wi ld/tame, l i f e /dea th e tc . As can be seen, however, while these oppositions are embedded in the conceptual in f rast ructure of Brancusi 's sculpture, the methodology in no way reduces i t so le ly to these concerns. If anything, the study reveals the surpr is ing ly r i ch f i e l d of associat ions on which Brancusi drew to create his oeuvre. In f ac t , the s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis makes i t apparent that i t i s an exc lus ive ly formal approach which impoverishes our understanding by bypassing the semantic re la t ionships found in the content of a r t . Used properly, a s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis enhances our knowledge of both the subject ive thought processes and object ive cul tura l matrix of a r t i s t s such as Brancusi , as well as showing how the i r ar t const i tutes the nexus between the two. Consequently, one of the major contr ibut ions of th is analysis is that i t shows the mul t i - layered s ign i f icance of such works as the K i s s , the Muse, Princess X, the Maiastra and the Leda. Their richness of meaning goes well beyond the s ign i f i cance of the i r form, and makes them "bonnes a penser" as well as beaut i fu l to behold. Indeed, as can be seen with the Sculpture for the B l i nd , even the simplest and purest of forms can be endowed with a complex, yet precise s ign i f icance when examined in i t s re la t ionsh ip to the rest of the oeuvre, and to the h i s to r i ca l period of i t s c reat ion. The contr ibut ion of the analysis goes fur ther . Although the four ser ies which const i tute Brancusi 's stone works have been perceived 195 before, a s t r uc tu ra l i s t methodology is necessary to place them in the i r log ica l re lat ionships with each other. It demonstrates that , when seen in retrospect , Brancusi conceived his subjects in para l le l ismorphic ser ies which are both opposit ional and appos i t iona l . These four ser ies are, in turn , grouped into two opposit ional systems. When the metaphoric and metonymic transformation of each ser ies are examined, i t becomes apparent that the works progress as much by semantic meaning as by form. The Sculpture for the Bl ind s i t s at the centre of these coherently arranged se r i es , i t s own f i r s t cause and i t s own point of o r i g i n . The s impl ic i ty*and ra t i ona l i t y of th is underlying structure also demonstrates the v a l i d i t y of the analysis on, the grounds of i n t e l l e c -tual parsimony, or the p r inc ip le - tha t the simplest explanation is the t ruest . Ge is t , and others have,noted that Brancusi 's work forms a coherent and rat ional whole, but when they attempted to analyze i t , they produced unrelated ser ies which crossed and recrossed at random, in e f fec t having a very complicated underlying s t ruc ture . The s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis indicates that the underlying structure is much more rat ional than o r i g i n a l l y perceived. I t i s the simplest possible solut ion that integrates a l l aspects of the form and content of the works, with the i r development, and the i r h i s t o r i c a l se t t i ng . In turn , the analysis indicates that Brancusi 's works f a l l into three main periods. These begin with his jo in ing the avant garde in 1907 and the K i s s , and end in h is re la t i ve i so la t i on in the cul-de-sac of the Impasse Rosin. Nonetheless, the cont inui ty of the 196 underlying concepts re late the end to the beginning and establ ished that , as Geist proposed and as Brancusi ind icated, the works were largely conceived more or less at one time and worked out over the remainder of the scu lp tor 's l i f e . The f i r s t of the three periods dates from 1907 to 1913, and begins with the K i ss . With th is work Brancusi declared himself in alignment with an avant garde which was, at the time, fascinated with "pr imi t ive" ar t forms and techniques. Symbolists l i k e Gaugin, the Fauves Tike Derain and Matisse, and possibly Picasso, a l l of whom were co l lec t ing p r im i t i ve .a r t objects, proved to be sources of insp i ra t ion for Brancusi . This re ject ion of his long academic t r a in ing , which Geist has noted but for which he-offers no c lear explanat ions, must be related to the sympathy between Brancusi 's "p r im i t i ve" nature and the avant garde's "p r im i t i v i s i ng " tendencies in the cruc ia l period of 1906/1907. Pa ra l l e l i ng Picasso, Brancusi at f i r s t assimi lated and"then rejected the technical and formal inf luence of Rodin. With the Kiss Brancusi turned to d i rec t carv ing. Nonetheless, unt i l the F i r s t World War, several of Brancusi 's mythological subjects were drawn from Rodin. Yet Brancusi 's choice, and his use of these subjects tended to be.very much his own, and f i t in per fect ly with the in f rast ructure that he was creat ing. So too, did his por t ra i ts of th is per iod. Af ter 1914, however, Brancusi completely abandoned Rodin as a source for his stone work. He also stopped introducing new subjects to his human head se r i es , which, for a l l intents and purposes, came to. an end. 197 Aside from these in f luences, the analysis also c l a r i f i e s Brancusi 's re la t ionsh ip to the philosopher, Henri Bergson. The s t r uc tu ra l i s t analysis establ ishes that Brancusi understood and employed the in ter re la ted concept of creat ive evolut ion, i n t u i t i o n , durat ion, motion, t ime, elan v i t a l e and the opposit ion between s p i r i t and matter. Furthermore, it-Jshows how Brancusi transformed and expressed these ideas. in terms of concrete log ic in sculptural form. The analysis demonstrates that Brancusi adhered to these ideas into h is second and th i rd periods when other members of the avant garde were dropping them. In f ac t , Bergson's ideas, which Brancusi would have encountered as soon-as he reached P a r i s , are the constant in a l l his works. The analysis also demonstrates, that while Brancusi 's works refer to and draw.their meaning from philosophic tex ts , they are not dependent on them, but form the i r own system, para l le l to , but independent of l i t e r a t u r e . The remaining feature which characterized Brancusi 's works of the f i r s t period were related to his alignment with the a r t i s t s of the Abbaye de CretieT and his s o c i a l i s t sympathies. These concerns and sympathies were, however, demonstrated to be based on the diachronic idea of soc ia l evolut ion and were in imical to t imeless qua l i t i es of a synchronic mythological s t ructure. The methodology points out and even predicts how he disposed of.them during the war years and thereaf ter , by f i r s t replacing the Penguins with the Leda and then by transforming the Maiastra into I ts opposite. As Brancusi developed, i t was his adherence to his timeless structure 198 that separated him from other progressing movements in the evolving avant garde. In the second period of Brancusi 1 s work, which occured during the war, he created a sequence which embodied the concept of the c y c l i c regeneration of both l i f e and cu l ture. In so doing he drew on several sources—monumental, mythological , musical and mechanical. But while employing modern and mechanical forms, and assoc ia t ions, Brancusi , with a charac te r i s t i c pardox, subverted soc ia l evolut ion and technological progression and turned h is tory back on i t s e l f . Th i s , in turn , iso la ted him. from his contemporaries in the avant garde l i k e Leger, who were, by th is t ime, emphasizing the diachronic aspects of the i r work. In the post war per iod, operating more and more from a posi t ion of i so la t i on in the cul-de-sac of the; Impasse Rosin, Brancusi moved out of l i ne with other avant garde movements and more and more towards s p i r i t u a l i t y . In the face of the appeal to reason by the " c a l l to order" a r t i s t s and to the subconscious by the S u r r e a l i s t s , Brancusi remained fa i th fu l to Bergson's concept of i n t u i t i o n , duration.and elan v i t a l e . Abandoning socia l ism and the human con-d i t i o n , however, Brancusi also abandoned human subject matter and worked out his remaining problems in his two ser ies of animal subjects. These const i tute the overwhelming proportion of his new post-war subjects. In f i n a l i z i n g his s t ruc ture , he returned in 1945, to h is o r i g i n a l point of. departure, and thus attempted to the end to turn back time. The methodology, as appl ied to Brancusi 's unique s i tua t ion of a pr imi t ive embedded in a modern soc ie ty , answers a second major c r i t i c i s m of Lev i -St rauss, that, is that he denies the idea of soc ia l progress and evolut ion.. This. challenge has been leveled from several f ron ts , but here i s proven to be groundless. While Lev i -Strauss' subject , i . e . pr imi t ive mythological s t ruc tures, may be synchronic, as are the soc ie t ies which produce them, the methodology of s t ructura l ism s t i l l allows fo r , and indeed, demands the inc lus ion of the d iachronic. In f ac t , th is study has demonstrated how the synchronic responds'to the diachronic. I t gives v a l i d i t y , however, to each. Levi-Strauss cont inual ly i n s i s t s that both must always be included in any study of myth. 200 BIBLIOGRAPHY I. Books and Catalogues Abraham, Ka r l . Dreams and Myths; a study in race psychology. (Trans, by Wil l iam White) New York: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co . , 1913. B a t a i l l e , Georges. Les larmes des Eros. Pa r i s : Pauvert, 1971. Bergson, Henri . Creative Evolut ion. (Trans, by Arthur Mi tche l l ) London: Macmillan, 1913. '• " - ~ - Matiere et Memoire;: e s s a i s u r T a re la t ion du corps a 1 ' e s p r i t . "Fe l ix Alcan, 1914. . Select ions from Bergson, Ed. by Harold A. Larrabee. New York: Appelton, Century, Cro f ts , 1949. B u l l f i n c h , Thomas. Bu l l f i nch ' s Mythology. Feltham: Hamlyn, 1964. Burnham, Jack. Great Western Sal t Works: essays on the meaning  of post- formal is t a r t . New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1974. . The Structure of Ar t . New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1973. But le r , Ruth. Western Sculpture, de f in i t ions of man. Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975. Cendrars, B la i se . L'Eubage aux Antipodes de 1'Unite. P a r i s , Au Sans P a r e i l , 1926. Charbonnier, George. Entretiens avec Lev i -St rauss. Pa r i s : Rene Jul H a r d , 1961. De Caso, Jacques and Sanders, P a t r i c i a . Rodin's Sculpture; a c r i t i c a l study of the SpreckeT's Co l l ec t i on . San Francisco: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1977. El sen, A lber t . Origins of Modern Sculpture: Pioneers and Premises. Oxford: Phaidon, 1974. Rodin. New York: The Museum of Modern A r t , 1963. France, AnatoTe. Penguin Is land. (Trans, by E.W. Evans) New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1909. Ge is t , Sidney. Brancusi: A study of the sculpture. New York: Grossman Publ ishers, 1968. . Brancusi/The K iss . New York: Harper and Row, 1978. . Brancusi , The Sculpture and Drawings. New York: Abrams, 1975. . Constantin Brancusi 1876-1957, a retrospect ive exh ib i t i on . New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim, 1969. Giedion-Welcker, Carol a. Constantin Brancusi. New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1959. Green, Christopher. Leger and the Avant-garde. New Haven: Yale Univers i ty Press, 1976. Hauser, Arnold. The Social History of A r t , Vo l . 4, Natural ism,  Impressionism, The Film Age. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul , 1962. Hoffman, Maivina. Sculpture: Inside and Out. New York: Bonanza Books, 1939. Jacques, H e n r i r -Pau l . Mythologie et Psychanalyse: le chatiment des  Danaides. Ottawa, Lemeac, 1969. J ianou, Ionel . Constantin Brancusi. London: T i r a n t i , 1957. Johnson, Ron. The Early Sculpture of Picasso 1901-1914. New York: Garland, 1976. Krauss, Rosal ind. Passages in Modern Sculpture. New York: Vik ing Press, 1977. Leach, Edmund. Lev i -St rauss. Glasgow: Fontana Books, 1970. Lev i -St rauss, Claude. Myth and Meaning. Toronto: Univers i ty of Toronto Press, 1978. . The Raw and the Cooked. (Trans, by John and Doreen Weightman) New York: Harper and Row, 1975. . The Savage Mind. .Chicago: Univers i ty of Chicago Press, 1966. No t rans la tor named. 202 ' . S t ruc tu ra l i s t Anthropology. (Trans, by C. Jacobson and B. Schoeff) New York: Basic Books, 1963. . La Voie des Masques. (edi t ion revue, augmentee, et rallongee des t ro i s excursions) Pa r i s : L i b r a i r i e PI on, 1979. Marc-Li piansky. Le Structural isme de Lev i -St rauss. Pa r i s : Payot, 1973. Neagoe, Peter. The Saint of Montparnasse. Ph i lade lph ia , Chi l ton Books, 1965. Noguchi, Isamu. A Sculptor'.,s World. New York: Harper and Row, 1968. Scholes, Robert. Structural ism in L i te ra tu re . New Haven: Yale Univers i ty Press, 1974. Shalvey, Thomas. Claude Lev i -St rauss; soc ia l psychotherapy and the  col 1ective unconscious. Amherst: Universi ty of.Massachusetts Press, 1979. Spear, Athena. Brancusi 's B i rds . New York: College Art Associat ion of America, 1969. Ste iner , George. Language and S i lence. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1969. Tabart,. Marie. i le. Brancusi , Photographie. Pa r i s : Musee National d 'Ar t Moderne, 1979. Tucker, Wi l l iam. Early Modern Sculpture. New York: Oxford Univers i ty Press, 1974. I I . A r t i c l e s and Unpublished Material Boime, A lber t . "Brancusi in New York, abovo ad Inf in i tum," Burl ington  Magazine, May 1970, pp. 332-6. Brezianu. "The Beginnings, of Brancus i , " Art Journa l , F a l l , 1965, pp. 15-25. . "Le Secret du 'Ba ise r ' de Brancus i , " La Revue du Louvre, 1969, pp. 25-30. Codreane, Irene. "Aphorisms of Brancusi , " This Quarter, 1925, pp. 235-6. F l o r i da , Robert. "The G i r l Who Married the Bear," Rel ig ion and Culture in Canada, Essays by members of the Canadian Society for the Study of Re l ig ion , 1979. Ge is t , Sidney. "Brancusi , the Meyers and Por t ra i t of Mrs. Eugene Meyer J r . Studies in the History of A r t , Washington: National Ga l le ry , 1974, pp. ... "The Cent ra l i ty of the Gage," Artforum, October, 1973, pp. 29-28. L 1 I l u s t r a t i o n . P a r i s , 23 September, 30 September, 16 December, 1911 Krauss, Rosal ind. "Nightwalkers," Art Journa l , Spr ing, 1981, pp. 33-38. Lev i -St rauss, Claude. "The Bear and the Barber," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Ins t i tu te , January-June, 1963, pp. 1-11. M.M. "Constantin Brancusi , a summary of many conversat ions," The A r t s , J u l y , 1923, pp. 14-29. The L i t t l e Review. "Brancusi Number," Autumn, 1921. Pound, Ezra. "Brancus i , " The L i t t l e Review, Autumn, 1921, pp. 3-7. This Quarter. Spr ing, 1925. Robbins, Danie l . "From Symbolism to Cubism: The Abbaye de C r e t e i l , Art Journa l , Winter, 1963/64, pp. 111-116. Roche, H.P. "L 1Enterrement de Brancusi , " Homage de la Sculpture a  Brancusi , P a r i s , 1957, pp. . "Souvenirs sur Brancusi , " L 'Oei1 , May 1957, pp. 12-7. Salzman, Gregory. "Brancusi 's Woods," unpublished M.A. report , London: Courtauld Inst i tu te of A r t , May 15, 1972. V i t r a c , Roger. "Constantin Brancus i , " Cahiers d 'A r t , No. 8-9, 1929, pp. 382-396. 

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