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static positions in a gravitational field

It is not true that what we need is to "accept instability." That is again the easy way. We need STATIC VALUES! ... we need faith! ... we need God! We need cathedrals and pyramids! We need a greater, a meaningful art!

Mathias Goeritz in a pamphlet distributed outside the Museum of Modern Art on the occasion of the performance of Jean Tinguely's Hommage à New York,  January 1960.









lying or standing vs. hanging; and lying vs. standing

"At this point, someone still might desire the explanation of the difference between hanging and lying, to which the answer is that we take a body for hanging, if its heaviness-center is under or in the surface on which it rests; but if the heaviness-center is above that, we take it to lie, to stand, or to sit. To lie, if the longest side of the body extends along the horizon; to stand, if it is orthogonal to that. That is also why the die (since all its sides are equally long) is just as properly said to stand as to lie, and to lie as to stand. Sitting is something between lying and standing."

Simon Stevin: The Principles of the Science of Weight. Leyden, 1586 (First Book, p. 24.)


Robert Morris: Two Columns, 1961

Robert Morris: Two Slabs, 1962

Ewerdt Hilgemann: Three Equal Volumes.
Gorinchem, 1974

Richard Serra: Delineator, 1974/1975
[Two steel plates, 3 x 8 m.]



The Mathias Goeritz pamphlet was quoted by Gregory Battcock in his Introduction to: Minimal Art; a Critical Anthology (New York: Dutton, 1968).

The Stevin quote was translated from the Dutch original. With modernized spelling, this runs as follows:

"Iemand mocht hier nog de verklaring begeren des verschils tussen hangen en liggen, waarop d'antwoord is dat wij een lichaam voor hangend houden, als zijn zwaarheids-middelpunt is onder of in 't genaaksel daar 't op rust; maar 't zwaarheids-middelpunt daar boven zijnde, dan houden wij 't voor liggen, staan, of zitten. Liggen, als de langste zijde des lichaams zich strekt langs de zichteinder; staan, als zij daarop rechthoekig is. Daarom is 't ook dat wij de teerling (vermits zijn zijden alle even lang zijn) net zo eigenlijk zeggen te staan als te liggen, ende te liggen als te staan. Zitten is wat tussen liggen en staan."

The source text is:

Simon Stevin: De Beghinselen der Weeghconst. Leyden, 1586. (1e Bouck, p. 24.)




compiled by remko scha, june 2012