Monday, January 21, 2008

Stephen Mallarmé: "Un Coup de Dés / jamais n' abolira le Hasard" ("The Dice Throw / Will Never abrogate Chance" 1914)

The typographical exaggeration of "Un Coup de Dés...." was a calculated attempt to force the viewer to encounter blank page space as a compositional element within an illusionistic picture plane. "Un Coup de Dés...."effectively reduced the legibility of the written word to that of a typographic pattern, text is marginalised to such an extent that the viewer is forced both literally and metaphorically to read between the lines. The layout and graphic overprinting of "Un Coup de Dés..." deliberately renders text illegible as naturalistic or figural narrative and this is confirmed by Mallarmé's description of the work as a constellation or shipwreck.

from Concrete Poetry and Conceptual Art: A Spectre at the Feast?
by Neil Powell