Sample text, Modernist magazines

A photo-essay from the French weekly VU, of September 1932, captures the period’s modernist preoccupation with visual order (Figure 5). The three-page layout, titled “Formes éternelles” (Eternal forms), contains sets of paired images of abstracted, repetitious forms, revealing striking visual similarities across the manmade and natural world: a woman’s hair resembles a coiled skein of silk; wooden floorboards are paired with an aerial view of irrigated fields; a rowing eight matches the configuration of an asparagus branch. Abstracted from their familiar contexts, the objects reveal a fundamental commonality, described, in the accompanying article, as the expression of a universal ordering principle:

[indented quote]Infinite diversity in nature? Perhaps. But uniformity also, when one sees certain essential forms that are found eternally the same in all kingdoms, whether vegetable, mineral, or animal. Are there profound laws that determine these? No doubt. And man himself, in his most modern inventions, always comes back to these primitive forms.