The Impossible Arises
Oscar Reutersvärd and His Contemporaries
Published by: Indiana University Press
The Impossible Arises explores the life and work of Oscar Reutersvärd (1916–2002), founder of the Impossible Figures movement. The movement began in Stockholm in 1934 when eighteen-year-old Reutersvärd drew the first impossible triangle. Over the course of his life he would go on to draw around 4000 impossible figures and be honored by the Swedish government with an issue of stamps showing his work.
Based on a large collection of Reutersvärd's art and correspondence held at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington, the lavishly illustrated Impossible Arises examines the evolution of Reutersvärd's impossible figures and how they influenced other modern artists in the later twentieth century.
The Impossible Arises offers a detailed look at the philosophy guiding Reutersvärd's art and presents a rich array of stories from his eccentric personal life. It is an essential introduction to the life and career of one of the most fascinating artists of the twentieth century.
Part One: Oscar Reutersvärd
1. Introducing Oscar
2. More Oscar
3. What Did Oscar Think He Was Doing?
4. Critique of Oscar's Philosophy
5. On Encountering Oscar Reutersvärd, by Catherine Speck
Part Two: M. C. Escher
6. Escher and the Penroses Discover Each Other
7. How to Talk About Weird Things
8. Escher and Impossibilia
Part Three: Contemporaries
9. Richard Pybus
10. Bruno Ernst
11. Those Who Followed After, a Chronology
Appendix: The Collection by Bruno Ernst of Drawings and Letters from Oscar Reutersvärd in The Lilly Library at Indiana University
Mortensen's book is a captivating and unique combination of art history and philosophical reflection. It will fascinate any thoughtful reader and is required reading for anyone interested in the genre of "impossible pictures." Someone who reads the book will never see such pictures in quite the same way again.~Graham Priest, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Whoever believes that thinking about the impossible must be itself impossible, should read this book. Combining art, art history, logic and philosophy, the reader will explore the richly structured world of impossibilia. The book's title is indeed true: Chris Mortensen makes the impossible arise.~Jean Paul Van Bendegem, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
This is a beautiful book about impossible pictures and the people who draw them. Art, mathematics, philosophy, and history meet in a huge gallery of mind-bending paradoxical images. Mortensen brings long experience and a light touch as he guides us through this strange corner of geometry.~Zach Weber, University of Otago