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The Multiple Sculpture

by Rasto R. Hlavina, revised 2013 based on the original 1983 manuscript

Copyright © 1983-2013. All rights reserved. Not to be copied without the author’s prior written permission.

Introduction

In the following pages, I am forwarding some of the aspects, thoughts, and motivations that surround the origin of The Multiple Sculpture, which I conceived in 1969.

This essay is not intended to present a detailed study of the concept. Instead, it only touches on the surface of the vast area to be explored. These writings are a form of introduction, rather than an exhaustive and complete description of The Multiple Sculpture, The Multiple Art, and the role of these concepts in our society. As a practising artist and dedicated sculptor, I am forwarding my findings and thoughts, in order to initiate the necessary study, in greater depth, within the area of multiple expression.

The definition of The Multiple Sculpture was derived from a long search for the possibilities that sculpture offers today’s sculptor. The concept of The Multiple Sculpture avoids the repetition of past achievements, yet does not deny the past’s importance and influence. Instead, the concept acknowledges these achievements and includes them within its scope.

This definition is not a conclusion, but the beginning of the development to come.

As one viewer, a student of art from New York, expressed in my guest book of 1982 (q.v.), I feel your work gives potential artists a new & exciting way of looking at Art. I personally like it, because it is very different from any other work of today. Good luck! (Sandra Childs, N.Y.).

Many questions come to mind during a first introduction to the topic, such as: What is The Multiple Sculpture? Why The Multiple Sculpture? What is the meaning of it? Is this a solution? What is so important about it that we should pay any attention to it?

I must say that The Multiple Sculpture was not a complete concept from the beginning. The concept was formed by the acknowledgment and integration of many findings during my years in pursuit of the idea. Several coincidental facts and happenings accumulated during my activity as a practicing and investigating sculptor. These coincidences guided the discovery of a type of multiplicity, and the notion that evolved became embodied in The Multiple Sculpture. From today’s perspective, I can say with full confidence that The Multiple Sculpture cannot be singled out as the only development leading to such multiplicity, but it is the first in my discovery.

Sculpture, as a media, is a time consuming process. Among the arts, it has usually been the last to respond to changes in the structure of the developing society. However, sculpture has one very special asset in its dimensional representation. This dimensional quality is ideal to reflect the changes faced by society. Sculpture has a very powerful and uniquely expressive capability in how it consumes our experiences, whether as an individual or as a group in this highly developed and complex society, and how it reacts and reflects those experiences.

Today, a single piece of information is just that – one interpretation; as such, it does not truly represent our reality. It is a single truth, a single point of view, and incomplete in relation to the whole. It is unreal, and given that limitation, has no place in the progressive aspect of utilization.

At this point, I would like to take our attention to another topic. Let us look into the development of a child, in two key areas.

The first area is the development of the skills necessary for survival, in particular, that of learning self-orientation. Through a multiplicity of experiences, a child learns to react to different situation by the process of elimination. From the multiple possibilities of motion, the child evolves to one solution. The child is responding in the manner of multiplicity to simplicity.

At the same time, yet another process is taking place. An example of this can be found in a second area, that of communication. From a simple sound, a child is acquiring a multitude of sounds; from a single knowledge, the child is expanding to a multiplicity of knowledge. The child is responding in the manner of simplicity to multiplicity.

By recognizing this duality in a process as fundamental as the development of an individual, we may conclude that the presence of duality will not be a rare occasion in other areas necessary for achieving balance, including the healthy development of an individual or a group – society.

This duality, of elimination cooperating with the multiplication, we do find occurring in a number of occasions, in the majority of the fields of our activity.

Yet, when it comes to the representation and reflection of life in the conventional visual arts, we have so far responded to our surrounding in the direction of multiplicity to simplicity. That is, through the process of elimination, we simplified our experiences and presented the multiplicity via some form of simplicity. We focus on presenting one individual version of the reality, and as such, one single opinion at a time.

In this manner, the development of visual arts became a process of starting-ending individualism, yielding in re-starting-ending, and on…

In the process of accepting this individualism, we had to reach the present perspective: that art holds individuality as the most important factor. This results in a generalization of what defines art. Since we represent all the individuality, the art has to be all-individual. In the end… All is Art! Anything is Art!

Society has focused its art on the creation of a single observer’s opinion. The focus has been drawn away from presenting richer, more complex qualities. We have brought art to a level of primality.

If we allow the generalization that nothing in human development is without a reason, then we have to assume that there is some purpose in the present situation. Several celebrities in the art world of the present have expressed their opinion, to the point of marking our period as the Period of Chaos, of Dehumanization of Art, preceding the doomsday of our society (p.e. A. Solzhenistsyn, Commencement address at Harvard University, June 8, 1978).

Already, in these opinions or assessments of our situation, we are able to sense an undertone of certain needs or desires. We are well aware that a need or desire is the cradle of activity, and given both chance and time, will lead to action.

Based on my assessment of the present state of the arts and the stage our society is in, I dare to say that we are at the most exciting period of development that the human race has yet encountered. We completed a full cycle of individual responses in the arts. We are at the birth of a new art! We are at the beginning of a new road, where contrary to the simplification as leading focus the multiplication is now being employed as the active agent in the formation of the future. We are at the cusp of maturity.

It is only natural that we cannot fully predict the future regarding the development of our society or of the arts. Despite this weakness, we can acknowledge the facts at hand, and utilise them with the certainty of any science of today.

Therefore, let us take into consideration some of these facts:

1. Communications and news media

Not a long time ago, news travelled from point A to point B by way of an individual, carrying an opinion derived by that individual’s own interpretation of a particular happening. Despite this provenance and conveyance, the opinion was declared as the official account. If another individual was not present to counter with an alternate opinion, the first-hand interpretation became the truth, without any doubt.

Today, a single interpretation is not sufficient anymore: we demand, and consider it to be our right, to have a multitude of interpretations. We expect to hear the other side as well. We demand multiplicity, and only after we have had it granted, do we finalize our own opinion based on our individual experiences and knowledge.

2. Science

Science is based on an essential need for multiplicity. The basic principle of science rests on the exploration and gathering of information, before forming any hypothesis or postulating any conclusions. Conclusions are always open, remaining in a developmental stage, where they may be contested at any time. Every physical law is being rewritten as new information is added, in a continual process of search and research. This search carries through on a micro and a macro level, and has resulted in many new discoveries multiplying through time.

From science in all areas, we have learned that knowledge is intertwined, and as such, represents multiplication.

3. Information technology and the computer

Turning to the realm of information technology, development is once again based on the principle of gathering, storing, and retrieving data. This process represents growth and, therefore, multiplication.

Even in computer games for children, we can find the whole dualist process of development, covering both the elimination and the multiplication being discussed here: At first, the player takes in as much information relevant to a decision as he or she is capable to input at a time. Then, through a process of elimination, the player familiarizes himself or herself with the basic moves. At this stage, the player achieves the initial recognition of the game rules, but does not yet have the knowledge of the many possibilities that exist to achieve higher scores and greater abilities. In order to progress, the player will have to experiment with new moves, techniques, and tactics. The player continues exploration, with the aim to master the game. This process corresponds to the multiplication aspect.

Our world of today is no longer just black or white. Everything is so complex that only those sufficiently involved may, with certain truthfulness, assess the situation at hand. Those involved have a fair chance to achieve in some area, but the same individual, transferred to another environment, is bound to be lost (or seemingly lost).

At this stage in our development, it is necessary to create a certain balance between the deficiencies of an individual within a complex world. Intertwined with an individual’s need for balance within such complex world is the desire for achieving the freedom of an individual within a society.

Here, once again, the values related to our desires are reflected in the contemporary arts. As such, these desires jointly result in a primal-like stage of human development. Without a doubt, we can see the resemblance of our desires versus the desires of primate ancestors led by instinct. In our development, we concluded a circle from the relatively free individual, through domination, slavery, feudalism, mechanical and automatic slavery, to the present return to the free individual within a society.

We acknowledged the role of the arts in human development as it lies in relation to the past, and recognized its importance as a catalyst in the process of forming this development. Retroactively, we assigned to the Arts the value of being a progressive media in our development, rather than merely a reflection of the reality.

Awareness of these facts leads us to the separation of the arts into groups, according to the role those groups represent in relation to the immediate reality.

We have to recognize the:

  1. Progressive Art
  2. Recording Contemporary Art
  3. Recording Retroactive Art

Limiting our view of these three groups to their relationship to the immediate reality and to the near future, I assign the greatest importance to the Progressive Art, but only within the boundary of its role as a coordinating factor for the development process.

Given the understanding that I place The Multiple Sculpture among the Progressive Art, I will pay more attention to this group, without intending to take away the significance of the others. They also have important positions in the future of a society, and in many aspects, they will contribute to the formation of the character of the society. However, their influence is based on long-term importance, rather than on their immediate affect in the present and near future.

The artist’s role in the development of a society was established prior to the period of chaos, and contrary to many contemporary opinions, the artist’s role in the present is as important as ever. The artist is an integral part of the communication media, with the full role of immediacy. By affecting his surroundings in this way, the artist is creating and forming needs. He or she is affecting the present, and as such, contributing to the future.

The contemporary artist, of all the groups involved, creates, reflects, and reminds us of the need for the humanization process that, at present, is gaining in strength. The role of the once progressive artist becomes, in time, the recording contemporary artist, and thereafter will transform into the recording retroactive artist. Once they have been overrun by time, the artist’s achievements will become documentary with respect to a particular period of time. In the same manner, the non-objective, environmental, all-is-art tendencies of the contemporary forms of expression come to reflect the eclipse of their importance. They come to their full bloom, and as such, become non-aggressive, and therefore, non-progressive. These forms are assuming the role of the recording contemporary art, while a new progressive form is established.

The need for humanization of the arts is evident in the overwhelming return to figurative, human-oriented art.

So what is the contribution of The Multiple Sculpture, or better yet, the contribution of The Multiple Art?

As I have already mentioned, the evolutionary process arrived at a stage of completing a cycle. With our ideological desire for the freedoms of the individual, we returned to our point of origin – though on a much higher level. Even if the reaction is different, our basic demands remain identical: the purpose is survival.

Where the primate responded with his animal sense for survival, we respond with a thoughtful assessment of the situation, and we act accordingly. The inner sense was replaced by thought.

Let’s assume that we are at the original point of our needs, and in the up-to-present pattern, we move forward in our development. This pattern represents the known development, up to the present, which is enriched by our experience from the past.

The result will be more of an enclosed specialization of the individual, in his role as a participating member of a society. This would create total dependency, with a new slavery of the individual by the rank of his or her importance to the society, yielding a special group of unimportant, or shall we say, disposables. Revolution, destruction, and possible elimination would follow.

This is one possible route to take, but it is not very attractive or encouraging.

So, what is another option for us, as a highly developed society?

In the past, we have collected knowledge in all areas of our involvement; as a student working towards graduation, we arrived to the level of maturity and ultimately, we graduated. We enclosed one cycle of development as a society.

The role of a mature society suggests that our time, or is it better to say our attention, has to be equally divided between the expansion of our knowledge and the sharing and utilization of the knowledge at hand. A balance exists between research and teaching.

The development of a society could be compared to the living cycle of an individual, but in a different time dimension and with a different sense of proportions. The same arrangement exists with the development of the universe, which is even more expanded in its time dimensions and sense of proportions. The resemblance is not accidental, since wherever we investigate, we can identify this fact and recognize it as a Law of Nature. We can acknowledge the evidence of this not only in living organisms, but also in the inorganic nature of evolution.

Since it is not my intention to pursue the analysis of this cycle, I will merely conclude by stating that the cycle is closely related to the development of the human race.

Society, at its current stage of maturity, has to assume the role of an educator. As such, it must progressively contribute to the development of the whole representation of itself. The education of a society is achievable through the use of the communication and information media. Under the umbrella of the communications and information media, we have to consider the whole communications and information system, with its capability to transmit knowledge, experience, and more, doing so within and throughout the society.

One of the integral parts of the communications and information media is, by nature, the Visual Arts.

In order for the Visual Arts to reflect the complexity of our life and to become a participating part of the education process, we will have to establish a new form of representation. This does not mean that all the other forms of representation will be left out; it only means that a new form is to be added. The added form will integrate some or all of the representational forms known until today. Since we have already acknowledged that the simplistic representation or reflection of our society would be untrue and unrealistic, we can assume that this new form will represent a certain multitude of interpretations – the multiplicity.

This new form will not only be a reflection of society, but also of the functional, educational, emotional and aesthetic representation of the evolving society. We have to reach for a form that will have the quality of multiple representations: The Multiple Art.

One form of The Multiple Art is The Multiple Sculpture. Sculpture, by its dimensional quality, is the ideal tool suitable to assume the role of an initiator in this respect. The Multiple Sculpture is able to express the complexity in an understandable and consumable manner. To support this statement, I would like to quote again from the book of guests from New York:

Quite original and complex, but most satisfying.
Ruth Erwell, N.J.

This expression does not represent only one individual’s response, but it reflects the attitude of eliciting multiple choices and rendering its consumption easier.

The Multiple Sculpture as a progressive form of the communications and information media

If we assess the sculptural expressions of the past and contemporary history, we will recognize the similarity in all the representations, with their single-sided approach. Any representation, whether figural or abstract, and in any known form, has been carried forward to us as a result of the process of elimination led by the artist. As such, it was opinionated, and furthermore, it was interpreted in an individualistic manner despite containing a variety of individualism.

This individualistic or single-sided manner led us to generalize our view of reality. It supported the tendency of simplification, which was suitable and necessary at the time, due to our arrival to a particular developmental stage.

The role of the visual arts, or of any other form of the communications and information media in the recent past, was to absorb the shock of the sudden expansion of knowledge and to avoid the danger of a premature contact with the complexity of ongoing change. The communications and information media created shocks of their own, as contra-shocks, and in this way, achieved the balance between the extremes.

What is the reality of today?

The once shocking discoveries of the recent past have become part of our daily routine: they do not shock us anymore, and therefore, we do not need to be concerned about them or about what reaction they will have on us. We are preconditioned.

Generally speaking, the visual arts contributed in great measure to this preconditioning.

At present, we are facing a new stage of development where the multiplicity of choice will demand the full awareness of the individual to all the possibilities at hand. Decision-making processes aiming to make the right choice involve a selective process, fed by the multiplicity of input.

So from this acknowledgment of the need for multiplicity, we can come to the realization that the new progressive form will have the same quality: multiplication.

Let us consider the example of a work of art represented in a sculptural form. With the first contact, the first point of observation, we have reached the stage of familiarity. With almost unmistakable certainty, we can predict any other view to come, or the manner of execution of the particular work. We have satisfied our curiosity without any effort to change our position or alter our point of view.

This single-sided representation of a work of art has calming effects on us. As such, it results in a lowering of our demands and activates the misjudgment of reality. It creates a mental laziness in our subconscious and, as such, it has a negative influence on our development. Whether we want it or not, the reality gives us no choice: we have to follow the development and become part of it.

The acknowledgment of the reality from all the available indications leads us to the realization of the importance of undergoing certain changes in our attitude.

We have to respond to the multiplicity or complexity by adjusting our way of thinking in respect to this reality. That means we have to accept and introduce the multiplicity in a consumable manner. Since art, with its quality of visual and emotional immediacy, has the necessary potential to become the tool to demonstrate the multiplicity, without any doubt we can conclude that it will evolve into a new form of multiple art.

Since I have already presented the quality of a sculptural expression as a dimensional representation, it will not be far-stretched to say that sculpture is the first to react to the reality of our complex world.

Sculpture, as an integral part of art, is assuming the role of a teacher and a coordinator in this process of redirecting our comprehension of the immediate reality – the multiplicity. The Multiple Sculpture is not the extreme of an individual expression. Rather, it is the progressive agent influencing and forming the future of our society. The Multiple Sculpture is the evolving product of the need for comprehension of the complexity.

What is The Multiple Sculpture and how does it function in relation to the complexity?

The process of development of The Multiple Sculpture has passed a significant milestone since its initial stage of discovery in 1969, or is it better to say, since the discovery of the possibility of creating a sculptural expression that would represent multiple aspects of a design. It has reached the stage of presenting realistic figural expressions. The process of development was not easy, since it represented an exploration and an expansion of an area not previously known or at all documented. Being alone in the pursuit of The Multiple Sculpture, I had to explore and question every possible aspect of it without seeing immediate results. My development of this idea until the present included much confrontation with forms, deep exploration of their capabilities, and repeated application within a design encompassing an interrelation of forms. From a realistic expression through to abstraction, I have returned to the realistic expression again. The process, multiply repeated, consisted by itself of a combination of elimination and addition. Only after I was able to separate the important from the useless was I in a position to finally define The Multiple Sculpture, in 1980-81. In the same period, I defined the contributing forms, such as the In-Out Form, the Expanded Form, the Trans-Form, and the Positive-Negative Form, with its primary and secondary expression.

The principle essence of The Multiple Sculpture is the representation of an idea or set of ideas as a single complex of designs, interlocked into one sculptural work. These designs are released through the observation of the particular work and by changes in the point of view, which allow the viewer to unveil the hidden or out of view designs. In this way, the viewer becomes involved in the process of discovery. This discovery creates moments of surprise, novelty, enrichment, and fulfillment. It provokes curiosity and leaves a new impression upon his or her being. The viewer has been touched by the same impulse that is known to the explorer, the scientist, the philosopher, the innovator, the scholar; it is the same impulse that is known to the front scouts of a society. The viewer's needs undertake some important changes, and the awareness of the multiplicity within the sculptural expression leads the observer safely to the multiplicity of our reality. The viewer is being initiated to a higher form of understanding.

The Multiple Sculpture offers to the viewer the space for adjoint creation, relies on that viewer's cooperation and imagination, and as such represents the coalition of an artist and the viewer. At the same time, the need for observation is channelled into the subconscious and becomes functional in the viewer's decision-making process and assessment. The viewer establishes his or her grounds to function in the manner of multiple thought, as will be necessary to meet the requirements of a complex situation. This way, a simple manner of visual consumption that is easy to digest achieves the role of a progressive platform or foundation for the structural build-up to follow.

To conclude the question of what is The Multiple Sculpture, I would like to simplify it as follows:

The Multiple Sculpture represents a sculptural form which, from different points of observation, releases a variety of designs related or unrelated to the main theme, executed in the same or different formal manner, adjoint or transformed from one to another design. It represents the coexistence of designs on a compatible level, with the knowledge of past explorations of form and design integrated into one multiple representation.

The development of The Multiple Sculpture

The beginning of the Multiple Sculpture (*l) dates back to my work in 1969, while I was observing the finished model of my sculpture Awakening (pl. #l.).

Awakening is a figural expression of spring in the country, as a time when nature s coming to life. I saw this sculpture’s free formation of a human figure give rise to lines along the main body that created the visual image of yet another figure within the main form. This awakened in me the thought of experimenting with the possibility of entering additional figural designs into the sculpture, without disrupting the main work. My sculpture Awakening thus came to be the awakening of The Multiple Sculpture.

I found that my imagination quickly absorbed the idea of entering additional figural designs into a sculpture, preserving an accidental look. However, in practice, I found the process to be difficult, lengthy, and thought provoking. Many times, I felt myself running astray or in a circular motion, returning to the point of origin. In order to progress, I initially decided to take the relatively easy route of using an abstract figure and the simple multiplication of it, through the use of figural forms and the space between them – the inside of the form. This process became my first encounter with the technique I eventually termed and developed as the In-Out Form (*2).

Following this method brought positive results in the sculpture Humanity (pl. #2). The application of the technique was not as effective as I would have liked in this work. However, it did unveil to me other approaches, which I would apply in future works.

The need for a more novel approach to pursue the idea of The Multiple Sculpture brought me to studying my earlier works, particularly those which carried some interpretation of the multiple expression (Torsos, pl. #5; Community, pl. #4).

In studying my works, I found myself pushed further towards abstract figural designs. I noticed that the abstract form has a special quality and capability to bring forward the image from a distant reality, through comparison with the known and immediate reality.

If we apply our imagination to the existing forms, such as clouds, mountains, trees, or simple rock formations, we can visualise familiar compositions or figures. This suggests that the imagination of the mind has the quality and capability to change the abstract into reality via imaginary forms, thus creating the Abstract Reality. The is the same way that Jules Verne (*) was able to make A Trip to the Moon, by freeing himself from the yet unknown but very specific rules of physics, ultimately reaching his destination, the Moon. This way, he created his own reality: the reality of the mind.

The discovery of this reality of the mind was a major step forward in my search for The Multiple Sculpture. For the first time, I was able to create abstract reality in the sculpture Vision in a Form (71-72, pl. #5.). This sculpture represents the reality of an object containing abstract figural expressions, cooperating with the imagination of the mind to reach its destination; this is the multiplication. (At the time of my exhibition in Ottawa, in 1972, some viewers found over thirty images of figures in this sculpture.)

In Vision in a Form, the multiplication is the coming together of the given forms, colours, and cavities in the form, and the free open space in the mass, which I call the Anti-Form. Furthermore, the light and shadow of the given forms work on the imagination of the onlooker, creating new images.

With this work, I made yet another discovery: the importance of the point of observation. Each image becomes visible only at a certain angle. With every change of view, another configuration appears in the mass.

In Vision in a Form, there was no predictability or instant truth as to what one would discover while looking at the sculpture from another angle. In this fashion, the sculpture Vision in a form broke with the more traditional or conventional forms in which one could predict with some certainty. In other words, Vision in a Form had to be discovered from all angles to deliver the intended message. Therefore, the angle of the view was to become an important consideration in the further development of The Multiple Sculpture.

However, at this stage and with the development of the abstract multiple sculpture at hand, I was faced with the dilemma of bringing my concepts to reality through realistic figural expression. During that moment, I felt I had to experiment with numerous realistic forms to further my developments toward the goal of a realistic Multiple Sculpture.

I continued to study and experiment with various realistic forms. Indeed, through my search for the realistic Multiple Sculpture, I originated a number of new concepts such as: the In-Out Form (*2), the Expanded Form (*3)’, the Trans-Form (*4), the Anti-Form (*5), and, added later, the Positive-Negative Form (*6) with its embedded primary and secondary form.

With the introduction of these new concepts, particularly the Positive-Negative Form, my imagination was allowed to soar to the point where l was able to switch my vision to the negative perception.

At this stage and with all the tools at hand, l decided to create the initiation to The Multiple Sculpture through a realistic expression. The sculpture Unity (77, pl. #6), and its refined version Legacy of Vinland (81, pl. #7), had the purpose to bring the idea of the Multiple Sculpture closer to the viewer, in a simple way. Images in relief figural expression were placed on the surface of the main design, without disrupting it, but visible from certain angles. This way, the viewer would become familiar with the multiple expression and, without explanation, will fully observe the particular work.

In working with realistic figural expression, I discovered to my amazement that realistic forms were an outgrowth of the abstract and were only truly complete when joined together in the multiple expression as The Multiple Sculpture.  (Dreamers, 8l, pl. #8; In the Moonlight, 82, pl. #9; Sololiquy, 83, pl. #10; etc.)

At this point, The Multiple Sculpture became reality and my attention was channelled to the practical application and documentation of this development.

In conclusion, with the creation of The Multiple Sculpture, I have introduced a new sculptural form that is the reflection of the current times. Just as art has, through the ages, reflected on the life of society and its development in a particular period of time, The Multiple Sculpture is a commentary of our complex, fast paced, and multi-faceted lifestyle. The time of simplicity or simplification as it existed in the past to create the necessary balance, is changing to the multiplicity, the comprehension of the mind, and the creation of a new balance for the present and future. This is as if the knowledge collected through the ages had come to its full capacity, ready to act as a catalyst for the developments yet to come.

I present The Multiple Sculpture and the possibilities which it has to offer to the artist; I am opening the space to be explored and I am pointing to some of the concepts which have promise in the future development of the Multiple Expression.

Notes:

(*l) The Multiple Sculpture – definition.

When a part of the body of a sculpture, or a whole sculpture, lends itself or its forms to create or carry additional ideas and figures, related or unrelated to the initial thought of the main sculpture, and therefore, multiplies the information and sensations contained, it becomes a Multiple Sculpture.
Rasto, R. Hlavina 1981

(*2) The In-Out­ Form represents two or more definite images created by the outlines of the mass and inner lines within the mass.

(*3) The Expanded Form represents expansion of one definite image, through the use of a partial visual connection with a neighboring form, to create another version of a definite image.

(*4) A Trans-Form represents the transition of one definite image into another definite image, visible from another angle of view.

(*5) An Anti-Form represents a definite image created by an open space within a mass.

(*6) A Positive-Negative Form represents the application of positive and negative expressions within one design, creating a positive visual image.

The primary form represents the original form entered in a positive-negative expression.

The secondary form is the negative version of the primary form that possesses the positive visual image.

(*2 to *6 definition, Rasto, R. Hlavina 1981.)

* Jules Verne (1828-1905), French author, regarded as the father of the literary genre known a science fiction (q.v.)