apposing the shells of architectural thought

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Endell called his empathetic art of pure forms and pure emotions Formart and described it as as bubbling up "out of the human soul." To understand formal beauty required a new way of seeing that would be attentive to visual form and detail. "Our eyes," he explained," must trace, minutely, every curve, every twist, every thickening, every contraction, in short we must experience every nuance of form.... The alert eye will everywhere observe forms of superb, soul-shattering magnificence. This is the power of form upon the mind, a direct, immediate influence without any intermediary stage..."31

Endell demonstrated such notions in numerous designs for furniture, friezes, and graphics such as the ambiguous "crab" figure on the cover of Um die Schönheit. While there are of course numerous differences, the stamped profiles of John Hejduk's troupe in Vladivostok, which are certainly as elusive in their visual associations and meanings as Endell's more organic form, belong to the legacy of this kind of formal experiment. Similarly, Endell's much celebrated Elvira Photographic Studio with its "dragon" motif swirling around on the plain surface of the facade in red and turquoise, sustains comparison surprisingly well with Hejduk's fiery Devil's Bridge, especially given the unlikelihood of Hejduk's familiarity with Endell's work.

31. August Endell, "Formenschönheit und Dekorative Kunst," Dekorative Kunst 1, no. 2 (1898) : 75-77, and vol. 1, no. 9 119-125. Translated as "The Beauty of Form and Decorative Art," in Tim and Charlotte Benton with Dennis Sharp, eds., Form and Function (London : Crosby Lockwood Staples, 1975), 20-26.




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