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Symphonie diaganale (1924)
"Symphonie diagonale" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 860 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 6 critic

A tilted figure, consisting largely of right angles at the beginning, grows by accretion, with the addition of short straight lines and curves which sprout from the existing design. The ... See full summary »


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Title: Symphonie diaganale (1924)

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A tilted figure, consisting largely of right angles at the beginning, grows by accretion, with the addition of short straight lines and curves which sprout from the existing design. The figure vanishes and the process begins again with a new pattern, each cycle lasting one or two seconds. The complete figures are drawn in a vaguely Art Deco style and could be said to resemble any number of things, an ear, a harp, panpipes, a grand piano with trombones, and so on, only highly stylized. The tone is playful and hypnotic. Written by David Carless

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Short | Music

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

5 November 1924 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Symphonie diaganale  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #2.3 (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

'Symphonie Diagonale' is a quintessential example of abstraction in Modern art.
19 October 2010 | by (Kanpur, India) – See all my reviews

Those grotesque lines and numerous haphazard shapes really captivate you and you beseech your noggin to construe a meaning for patterns. You toil assiduously and eventually get lost in the never-ending meandering lines. Akin to Escher's painting of flight of incomprehensible and unfathomable stairs, the right angled figures and horizontal and vertical histograms in Viking's enigmatic video leave us in a profound flummox.

'Symphonie Diagonale' is a quintessential example of abstraction in Modern art. Picasso, Cezanne did tangentially talk about abstraction but more or less remained stuck to the thought of depicting the main idea lucidly. But, Viking Eggeling on the other hand takes abstraction to an unprecedented and fascinating realm. The gist of this piece of work by Viking is to break free the modern paintings from the shackles of property of being static, i.e. to make the idea of depicting transition or fleeting movement in a painting (*series of photos) conceivable. The frames come one after another, thus creating a motion picture which facilitates delineation of author's chain of thoughts possible. It seems like the shapes appearing in a cyclical order symbolize the recurring nature of several things around us, the symmetrical stairs of our home, keys on a piano, day and night, seasons and so forth. To pinpoint and interpret the exact theme Viking had in his mind is a conundrum, maybe he thought more in terms of the video eliciting different response in viewer's mind and how can self-correlation of viewer gives a structure and rarefied boundaries to this work. The rhythm, with which the images appear, is not exactly in a fixed pattern or not exactly in a totally random pattern but it lends it a sense of meaning. The figures in shapes of cigarette smoke, an ear, a harp, entice the viewers to give some weight-age to them and conceptualize the whole video. As this piece of movie was silent originally thus the music's significance stands on very thin ice. Maybe, patterns and music are attempting to coherently complement each other. Music though is hypnotic and amusing; it hardly solves any purpose rather it just baffles the viewer. The repetitive patterns, strange appearance of the figures makes the video extremely loaded with information and very strenuous. You can't look at it for long duration and maybe this constraint makes it so beautiful and adds to a unique aesthetic sense to it. Though it's very hard to fully understand the underlying idea of the video, still the idea of strange forms coming again and again makes it impressive. In the end, I feel that Viking wanted us to appreciate the change and accentuate the fact that change is what keeps us interested in everyday life.

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