Ah, Breval, la Diagonale, c’est le Diable” Richard-Paul Lohse (1) told me one day (Ah, Breval, the Diagonal, it’s the Devil). I can still remember it was in July 1979 in Austria… I can’t remember what he meant but at least I guessed this damned diagonal might have been giving him a lot of problems!

From the Greek dia, across, and gônia, angle, the diagonal means the lop-sided way; it is the alternative, thumbing its nose at the politically correct verticality and horizontality. Finding diagonal close to devil in the dictionary doesn’t happen by chance!

A large part of my works is using diagonals as a raw element for highlighting shapes or objects discrepancies which would not have been noticeable at first glance.

Two 50 and 49 cm squares may look identical… just put the first square’s diagonal into the other and it will bend significantly! Can’t miss it! Manage then to make it fit well in the square: depending on the material, bend it, make a knot or cut and paste it. (un peu diffèrent du FR mais on conserve cette rédaction)

As we use to say: The devil is in the detail!

What does the Devil think about it? Just ask him!


(1) Richard Paul Lohse


Diagonals, 2016, pencil on collage
Losange et diagonales, 1982, diamond-shaped wood and folding meters
Diagonals, 1983, pencil on folded Japanese paper
A cat was revealed by chance, 1983, pencil on wrapping paper
“A la machine…”, 1983, fabric and red and blue threads
83040_Losange et diagonales du carré_Taidemuseo Kemi-2
Too short and too long, 1983, bois. Sculpture made during  the IAFKG Symposium in Taidemuseo, Kemi, Finland
86001_Carré et diagonales cachées
Hidden diagonals, 1986, Bricks and iron bars, Am Lindenplatz, Hofbieber, Germany
Hidden diagonals, 1986, Bricks and iron bars in 2011, © 6/2011 Thomas Emden-Weinert. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.                                                                                                                                       Das Quadrat verkörpert mit seinen orthogonalen Seiten förmlich die Strenge. In gewisser Weise auch unaufgeregte Schlichtheit. Aber die sich kreuzenden Diagonalen bringen Dynamik in das Bild. Und sieh: die Erde reißt auf, um sie zu gebären! Gleichwohl, es täuscht der Eindruck, hier sei ein Stück nicht zu bändigender Natur am Werk gewesen: auch die Diagonalen gehören zum gar strengen Plan des Künstlers. Ein Kunstwerk wie ein Denkmal dafür, wie der Mensch der Natur seinen Willen aufzwingt. Oder waren es am Ende Zauberkräfte, die die Ziegelsteine hoben, um uns einen verwunschenen Ort zu bedeuten?
Hidden diagonals, 1986, Bricks, iron bars and weeds in 2011, © 6/2011 Thomas Emden-Weinert. Alle Rechte vorbehalten

I’m delighted to see that not only this work still survives after more than 30 years but it has become fully part of the urban furniture of the city.

All my heartfelt thanks go to the Hofbieber citizens and the rebellious blooming weeds that kindly add some unexpected eco-poetry to my rigid diagonals.

Hofbieber Map