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Complementary cubes, 1973-1974

Manfred Mohr’s ‘Complemetary cubes’ is a computer-generated film sequence produced via a programmed code.

In Lullian studies, the figure of the cube gained importance with a book written by the mathematician and architect of the Escorial, Juan de Herrera (1530-1597), entitled Tratado del cuerpo cúbico conforme a los principios y opiniones del ‘Arte’ de Raimundo Lulio (Treatise on cubic form).

It was probably Juan de Herrera who introduced King Philip II to the works of Llull, which inspired the creation of a chair of Lullism at the University of Alcalá de Henares. Herrera believed that the cube was one of the primary figures of Llull’s ars and that it could be related to the correlatives (e.g., the correlatives of goodness are: ‘the Bonificative’, ‘the bonificable’ and ‘the act of bonifying’, which shows that all reality has an intrinsic dynamics).

Given all the above, the continuous generation of Mohr’s cubes, cubes which are always seeking completeness, recovers the idea of combination or ​​complementarity and the importance of the formal mathematical aspect of the cube. Think also of Jorge Oteiza’s metaphysical boxes…

This footage, ‘Complementary Cubes’ (around 5 1/2 minutes), from 1973 - 1974, was originally written for the film “Cubic Limit” but was not used in the film. It shows two sequences of subsets of all the combinations of two rotating cubes, one with ‘n’ edges and the other with ‘12 minus n’ edges. Images from this film were published in the catalogue “Cubic Limit”, 1975.

Manfred Mohr,1975. Complementary Cubes, 1973-1974. [online] [Accessed 03 November 2016].

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Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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