Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Alfred Jensen April 1977

One afternoon during the year 1921, I was walking down a street in San Diego, California. I suddenly saw the edge of a young man's face, a nose. I called out to the owner of the profile, "Karl, remember that I drew your portrait in 1915, when we were children in school?" "Of course, I remember, Alfred," he answered, "and I still keep the portrait as a remembrance of our school days. That was 6000 miles away and six years ago, in Horsholm, Denmark."
The edge of things, a profile, coupled with a past event, has always made me leap like an inspired diver off a board.
Edge events have occupied me for years - the edge of color as it is observed in a prism. Goethe wrote in Beitrage zur Optik, 1791, paragraph 33:
The prism as an instrument, was looked upon with submissive awe and humility in the Eastern lands; so that the Chinese emperor gave himself the right to be the unique owner, as he insisted, by divine right of Majesty, to behold these beautiful appearances for himself alone. We in all ages from youth to old age look with wonder on the prismatic instrument because upon its use depends most of the color theories: therefore, to begin the study of color we must concentrate on this object.
While the study of Goethe's color theory has engaged me over a twenty-year period, it is in the past three years that I returned to it, as well as new readings in contemporary physics and electro-magnetism and constructed the prism machine.

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