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 Über Gerard  Caris

 À propos de Gerard Caris

 Sobre Gerard Caris 
   Gerard Caris

   Gerard Caris

   Gerard Caris

   Герард Карис

   Gerard Caris

     Gerard Caris

     Gerard Caris

Artists` Statements 


I hereby like to present my work which has been a concentration on pentagon dodecahedra forms, the five pointed star shaped by the diagonals of the regular pentagon and the rhombohedra taken directly from the dodecahedron, over a period of forty years as new and authentic artistic art movement like a new ISM.

This consideration is based on the fact that the regular pentagon and the dodecahedron consisting of 12 pentagonal faces, one of the only five existing primary forms are nowhere to be found in the realm of art as continuous interconnected ordering motives determining the whole composition.

The fact that regular pentagons cannot tile the plane without leaving gaps (fivefold) symmetry is impossible in periodic structures, regular pentagons can shape just one polyhedron: the dodecahedron.

In surveying the past where the five regular polyhedra first appear as a set of Neolithic stone carvings (dug up inScotland about one millennium before Plato) and onwards until the present, no artifacts can be identified where there is a structural composition involving more than one pentagon dodecahedral shape involved.

Well known examples thereof are a drawing of a dodecahedron as art[1] by Leonado da Vinci,   titled Duodecadron of 1498; Dürers Melencholia  an engraving of 1514; an oil painting by Salvador Dali The Sacrament of the Last Supper  of 1955[2].

Pentagonism involving the discovery of local structuring with regular pentagon dodecahedra and global structuring with rhombohedra who have a strong connection with the dodecahedron can be seen as principal extension involving newly developed structures possessing local and periodic symmetries.

Examples thereof can be found in “SMA cahiers 23” and “ZKM Pentagonismus”.

Considering that this development could be a candidate for a new ism a number of requirements for such a prefix in part indicated by the British art critic Ben Lewis[3] can be described as follows:

1.      A new ISM is invented by an art critic

2.      A new ISM needs a landmark exhibition place

3.      A new ISM develops from an old ISM

4.      A new ISM is  a new way of thinking and understanding art

5.      A new era leads to a new ISM    

Since the principle motives of my work consists of compositions of geometric shapes like regular pentagon and dodecahedra, the term “Pentagonism” has already been coined by me for working, presentation (Among others for museum exhibitions and catalogues in Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum und Karlsruhe /ZKM(Centre for Art and Media technology)) and identification purposes.

At the same time an ongoing search continuous seeking evaluation by renowned art critics (1) for possible legitimating in order that this artistic development could formally enter the history of art as a new ISM called Pentagonism and exhibitions in Landmark exhibition places (2).

(3) A new ISM develops from an old ISM.

Certain similarities between concrete constructivist art and Pentagonism with which it is often compared[4], like  its serial character can be taken as diverging concept for a new ism development.

“Serial” which is no more than a style analysis tells nothing about the content of the works themselves which in the mentioned categories differ fundamentally by the shape of motive.

Where concrete constructivist art with its cubic synthesis remains almost exclusively within orthogonal composition, practice, Pentagonism with its five fold symmetry recently discovered structural interconnectedness of pentagon dodecahedra forms give rise to an entirely new form development in that it explores and shows creations never envisioned before in art, due to the scientific crystallographic restriction of twofold, threefold, fourfold and sixfold symmetry only

4 Thinking and understanding art as a learning process for certain knowledge, uncertain knowledge and creation of knowledge can be considered as a new viewing angle of thinking and understanding art[5]

5 Algorithmic and artistic elements, two complementary ways forming a new relation suggested with the term Pentagonism, shows correlations with interdisciplinary tendencies not only in the language of science and art but also in socio cultural, economic and political domains in which due to globalization interactive effects can be observed on a par with the listed requirements for a new ism.

Gerard Caris


February 19, 2008

[1] I am emphasizing the rendering of the drawing of the dodecahedron by Leonardo in an artistic mode rather than as a mathematical figure, for in doing so he indicated a clear distinction between the pentagon dodecahedron as a mathematical algorithmic form and as a form for contemplation and it is by the latter that I also consider my work based on pentagon dodecahedra as purely visually contemplative.

[2] Dali stated that this was an “arithmetic and philosophical cosmogony based on the paranoiac sublimity of the number twelve…the pentagon contains microcosmic man: Christ” but only four partially cut off pentagons appear in the painting (Italic part is a comment by me).

[3] British art historian Ben Lewis has presented a series of programs (Art Safari) looking at a new generation of international contemporary artists. ep Relational art: is it an ism?

[4] See also Johan Vanbergen “Gerard Caris  Measurable Infinity” page 19. Wilhelm-Hack-Museum 1991 :

A critical description which limits itself to such general qualifications of style, such as geometric, constructive, or serial does not teach us much more about this work and its meaning. Such commentary quickly deteriorates into the blurred arguments that are so typical of dissertations on movements like Minimal and Conceptual art. Characteristic of this general discourse is its domination by a pseudo –scientific terminology in which concepts such as construction, structure, space, module, experiment, theory, and basic research continually crop up.

However, the descriptive value of these terms with regard to the work of art being examined can seldom be defined exactly……

[5] Semir Zeki The Art of Gerard Caris and the Brain’s Search for Knowledge in “Gerard Caris Pentagonismus/Pentagonism” ZKM 2007, page 74 – 83.


As a general guided principal with which I conceive and execute my creative endeavours strongly connected with the meaning of my work there is this notion of an interconnectedness with an overall cosmic construction.

The flowers in the field exhibit the same geometrical symmetry as the crystals hidden in the earth, all existence seems to be governed by an overall big scheme.

This notion highly valuable to me as an intuitive felt driving force operative in the particular direction and shape the oeuvre has taken becomes an integrated part in the overall visual perception of the individual art works.

Careful and attentively looking is called for for the interpretation and understanding; not only to understand the art here under discussion, but all art from times immemorial to the present.

With this writing so far intended as an introduction, I like to turn now to more specifics to the development of a body of work containing in my estimation the necessary prerequisites of presenting a new ism.

Proposing as its central motive the pentagon and its related geometry – which in all its branchings have been pursued in a high variety of ways and paraphrased in a new visual language coined pentagonism.

 Be known to us since antiquity, but for a number of understandable, and a greater amount of unclear reasons almost totally neglected, the pentagon revealed itself in my investigations and art practice as a form possessing not only an unbelievable degree of versatility, but also a key to a new form of structural compositioning which in formal scientific theory was not only declared impossible but forbidden.

The impossibility of translational symmetry with regular pentagon symmetries which was the reason given by science for the impossibility to continuous regular tessellations and spacial structuring, must have been taken over blindly by the art and design world, for when I started my research in 1968, no continuous structures with pentagons -or its spacial component the dodecahedron- could be found to exist.

Intuitively conceived in a spontaneous composition titled Creation of the Pentagon  and unhindered by scientific prejudice I started to conceive, -unlike Kandinsky’s point, to line, to form - direct polyhedrally, with this one single form and its spacial component the dodecahedron.

A variety of sculptures, relief structures, paintings, graphics and drawings of which the first two spacial examples clearly exhibit polyhedral structure or who are approximated by such a structure, became parts of an oeuvre consisting as of yet of some 400 artefacts.

The three remaining categories show hovering ambiguities between the two –dimensional plane and the three-dimensional space not fully representational of time as the fourth dimension, but close to our understanding thereof,  by comparison of something we can see. Like the shadows on the wall, see ZKM Catalogue page 93.

Duchamp would probably have been delighted by this example of his clever analogy particularly applicable for Polyhedral Net Structure # 3.

Maastricht, March 3rd 2008



















Aspects of Formalism

Neither matter nor form comes to be : that is to say, there is no such thing as ultimate matter or form emerging from naught, spontaneously. Everything that changes is something, and is changed by something, into something. That by which a thing is changed is the immediate mover, that which is changed, the matter, and that into which it is changed, the form. Plastically I direct my investigations with a significant form in search of ordering ground rules, or the bidden structures behind visible reality. I consider formalism, of which form is an integral part, as an aesthetic theory not only to describe my work, but as a guide to fathom art in general, formalism, suggest order, regularity, uniformity, symmetry and harmony. It strives for an arrangement of orderliness in which it renders and molds the chaotic into a well made and ordered structure. The form is the unifying and organizing principle of formalism. The form is not only found in all organic as well as in inorganic matter, but it is prerequisite for the organization in the nature of all things.

For instance, form emerges as constructing units in such diverse array as protoplasm, bioplasm, cell physiology, protein, albumen, germinal matter, germ cells; amoebae and protozoans.

The formal denotes a common recognizable form, which further suggests adaptability to rules. From the frantic and spastic movements of the single cell that is about to divide itself, to the formation of crystals, as well as the emergence of artistic ideas, we find a persistent form emerging which is agreeable and of a well regulated and orderly, uniform consistency. Formalism suggests and involves precision of forms which in their severity and persistency in unity can be seen as the building blocks of all things. Form itself is the cause or the principle element involved in a1l creation.

Formalism as an aesthetic theory may not be entirely satisfactorily in that it doesn't tell the whole story of my work.

However it captures quite adequately those aspects of my work I am sure about.

It is the form, specifically the pentagonal form that has aroused my interest, due to the fact that since its inauguration by Plato 2.300 years ago the pentagonal dodecahedron was almost nowhere to be found as a construction motif in art.

Regular pentagons and pentagonal dodecahedrons became the principal motifs for the construction of my universe in art space.

This body of work hereby presented as pentagonism can be considered as a candidate to occupy a not yet occupied position in Art History. 

Gerard Caris Maastricht
March 7, 2001


                                            André Evard  1876-1972
               Congeniality of mind


         André Evard is an example of an artist who is an artist and a scientist at
         the same time with a rare insight into the ordering principles of the 

         From the onset of his career he must intuitively have felt that a long
         productive life lay ahead of him in which he could afford himself to
         reinvestigate and repeat certain images that were important to him,
         many times revealing the rich variety in which there lies solid
         geometry, not only behind the flux of living things but throughout the

         he has rendered and documentend these, his findings in a convincingly 
         eye pleasing painterly fashion


Gerard Caris


August 9, 2009