In his didactic notes, Paul Klee makes a distinction between free and rigid lines. He compares the free lines to a stroll and the rigid ones to a planned business appointment. He also distinguishes between active and passive lines, where the active ones have an agile character that shows their progress.

My own work since the early seventies until today often features active, structurally rigid lines. However, in contrast to Paul Klee, the romantic, I tend to show only the empty coatracks onto which he would hang his magical imagination. Such a reduction may look a bit meagre and void of fantasy, but it is a conscious stand, nevertheless. My work also aims to be poetic, be it in a way related to a rational, scientific outlook. I do hope that the viewer experiences the inspiration - indeed, the freedom! - that I feel in my own artistic production.

All my work is systematically constructed. Logical systems determine the development of a work or series. The image itself can be ordered structurally, metrically: circumference, diagonals, medians, grids … The eye can connect the points on an objective scale via numbers: an angular, spiral movement, a western direction of reading, or to and fro ‘like an ox pulling the plough’. Even such series of numbers can be ordered in various ways.

TUPLE TANGO is based on a design from an extensive series of ‘transactions’ (transaction 813’). The 64 intersections of a square grid are named in an angular spiral movement via this ordered list (tuple):


The points of corresponding numbers are linked according to the order of the spiral movement. This results in eight zigzag lines, which can be shown in a single image. It gives rise to a whimsical network. They can also be shown separately as a series or a powerpoint presentation. The zigzag lines can also function as couples in which one partner receives the line gauge as a grid unit. The couple can develop simultaneously or with jumps and starts: a capricious dance. With two thick zigzag lines, one can cover the other as a void, which only leaves scattered fragments.

Digital and artisanal applications alternate. They influence one another. Their deficiencies and qualities come to light. There is no thought without matter or technicality. Practice thinks, fertilizes, and limits.

There are many forms of art. Skillful, inventive, meaningful coordination of sensory signals, however practically useless, remains a major constant. Absence of practical use leaves room for spiritual use. In my case it affords an opportunity for reflection on impressions and analysis, on mental and sensory beauty, on order and chaos, on simplicity and complexity, on industry and rigidity, on borders and crossing them.

Dirk Verhaegen