Commentary on the Geometry of Constraints (1981)

In 1980, in the previous text, I showed the degree to which my sources of geometric inspiration had deteriorated over thirty years, moving from pure geometry to the “geometry of constraints,” all representation (of geometry) ceasing to exist except in the presentation (of planar paintings).

Immaterial planes had been debunked, but I had not yet truly addressed lines.

Now I have.

And to do so, I return to the representation of my “approximately geometric” lines, appearing classically on the surface of my canvases.

But, unable to show the ideal point where a still-visible line leaves behind lowly materiality and attains the infinite, I am now interested in finding the point of no return where a line, returning to lowly materiality, abandons even the quality of linearity.

The point past which Euclid and Pythagoras can no longer do anything to save it.

Translated by Daniel Levin Becker. © Dia Art Foundation. English translation originally published in Béatrice Gross with Stephen Hoban, eds., François Morellet (New York: Dia Art Foundation, 2019), p. 204-205. Originally published as “Commentaire à la géométrie des contraintes,” in Morellet (Paris: .Éditions du Centre Georges Pompidou, 1986), p. 193.