chapter  52
5 Pages

From The Secret of Theatrical Space: Josef Svoboda


And theatre ought to be a place of magic. Nothing from life can be transferred intact into the theatre; we must always create a theatrical reality and then fill it with the dynamics of life. In that principle lies one of the essences of modern art. There was a time when I considered Mallarmé’s graphic poems and Apollinaire’s calligraphy as mere games to fill empty hours. And yet they represented the highest possible efforts towards a purification of elements, towards a rejection of conventional expressive accretions, towards an artistic evolution in the direction of synthesis. These were precisely chosen, deliberate words revealing an economy suggesting that the words were to be carved in stone tablets but were instead broken up into letters arranged in a graphic pictorial layout. A picture confronted, completed, and heightened by words – or words heightened by form. This evolution of word as well as of form resulted in a still further significance. Purification – the tendency toward simplification and elimination of non-essentials – is one of the typical and general signs of modern art. I followed it intensely in the hope that by this path I might arrive at a true synthesis of essential elements in new relationships.