The Broken Arch

The Broken Arch, a 1964 draft of an unpublished work by Lorrie Tussman exploring the theme of unity in Western civilization based on the writings of Henry Adams, providing a powerful critique of the Western logic of antithesis.

Read The Broken Arch (pdf format)

From the book….

“My life is a broken arch,” Henry Adams wrote at the beginning of this century. And today Jean-Paul Sartre writes these words in an essay about the art of Giacometti:

Between things as between man, the bridges are broken, and emptiness seeps in everywhere, every creature concealing his own.

Sartre sees Giacometti struggling with the problem of the insuperable distances and solitudes between objects and individuals as a result of the broken architecture of the cosmos.

A line is used to separate the container from the contained. But vacuum does not contain…He (the Object) is there, the wall is there, and that is all. Nothing encloses, supports or contains him. He appears, all alone, within an immense frame of empty space.

The problem of Giacometti is essentially the problem of creation without perspective. How is the artist to define an object that exists only in itself…an object without connections, without external relationships…form not in relationship to other forms and to space, but form en vacuo? In other words, how is the artist to define that which is free?

The paradox is not only one of art but in the widest sense of life itself. How are we to define either ourselves or others if we are freed from our traditional contexts and connections? How are we to understand life itself without a common perspective?


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