In the domain of art, each creation is unique, and knows little progress thereafter. Arising over time are all sorts of variations of the same themes, sometimes full-bodied, often quite bland. But the force existing at the beginning of the work is rarely maintained. Similarly, when this force is reapplied, the action produced in the artwork becomes automated and mechanized, so much so that the dulled senses fail to respond to the medium.
The time is then ripe for a new invention. What we call the technique is inseparable from the art. And so we are wanting, and this is not a trivial matter, to do away with some ideas. Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type, printed by this means a handful of books, which still remain supreme as realisations of the art of book typography.
The centuries which have succeeded him were not marked by any other major invention in this field of interest – until photography.
- El Lissitzky, Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1926