SYMPHONIE DIAGONAL / RHYTHMUS 21
A fruit was ripening in the shape of the collaboration between Viking Eggeling and myself. Our friendship had led my parents to invite him to our country house at Klein-Kolzig. There, for three years, we marched side by side, although we fought on separate fronts. In 1919, on the basis of what Eggeling called Generalbass der Malerei, we produced our first scroll-pictures: variations on formal themes, drawn in pencil on long rolls of paper. Eggeling's was called Horizontal-Vertikal-Messe and mine Praludium. In 1920, we began our first film experiments, based on the implications of motion contained in these rolls. Eggeling finally made a film of his second roll, Diagonal Symphonie
and I made one called Rhythmus 21.
Both were abstract films, but very different in spirit and in their approach to artistic problems. Eggeling started out from the line and I from the surface. Eggeling orchestrated and developed forms, while I renounced form altogether and restricted myself to trying to articulate time in various tempi and rhythms. We had both turned to the film for the solution of a problem we had encountered in painting. I had no intention whatsoever of continuing to make films, but the new dimension t, and the possibility of orchestrating time as I had orchestrated form, drew me to the film more and more.
- Hans Richter, dada - art and anti-art