1974-00-00-100a  1974-00-00-100b

the wittgenstein papers I-II

catalogue number: hdv 1974.081.4
date created: 1974
classification: editions & publications
work type: artist's publication
medium: 2 square booklets, each with 16 pages white paper; in volume I title page with title, author and date, followed by five propositions from Ludwig Wittgenensteins Tractatus Logico-philosophicus are turned into questions like 'zerfällt die welt in tatsachen?' / 'ist die form die möglichkeit der struktur?' / 'ist denn alles geschehen und so-sein zufällig?' / 'was ist der fall?' / 'ist die welt des glücklichen eine andere als die des unglücklichen?' / 'dagegen scheint mir die wahrheit der hier mitgeteilten gedanken unantastbar und definitiv. ich bin also der meinung, die probleme im wesentlichen endgültig gelöst zu haben. und wenn ich mich hierin nicht irre, so besteht nun der wert dieser arbeit zweitens darin, dass sie zeigt, wie wenig damit getan ist, dass diese probleme gelöst sind'; each proposition on one page and handwritten in red ink, followed by a page of text in blue ink in which Wittgenstein reflects on the value of his book; volume II has handwritten title and date and is followed by 12 empty pages
dimensions: 2 booklets each 15 × 15 × 0.3 cm
signature and inscriptions: number (graphite pencil) inside red stamp of artists press bern
edition: artists press bern 1974
edition 25, numbered 1/25 - 25/25
current repository: [5/25] collection herman and susanne de vries
[*/25] collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam (rep. number 1998.1.0007)
current repository number:
collecting history:
related works: series of postcards (v74-62) made from the remnants of volume I of 'the wittgenstein papers I-II'
photo/scan: studio herman de vries/l-cs
rights & reproduction: herman de vries
object label

[38] the wittgenstein papers I & II appeared in 1974. it consists of two square booklets with an identical number of pages. in the first, five propositions from tractatus, famous as well as dogmatic, are turned into questions, from "does the world divide into facts?" which echoes proposition 1.2: "The world divides into facts" to "what is the case?" echoing proposition 1: "the world is all that is the case". the questions, handwritten in red ink, only one per page, are followed by a page of text, also handwritten, in blue ink, and borrowed from the last lines of wittgenstein's preface to tractatus, in which the philosopher evaluates the contribution of his book. after having declared that he considers the truth of his propositions to be definitive and that he believes "to have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems", he then corrects this apparent assurance by adding that "the second thing in which the value of this work consists is that it shows how little is achieved when these problems are solved". as he wrote a little earlier in the text that it is "the aim of the book is to draw a limit to thought, or rather - not to thought, but to the expression of thoughts", its main result thus amounts to underlining the limits of language. this is confirmed by the last two propositions of tractatus, in which wittgenstein recommends transcending the propositions of his book in order to "see the world aright", before he concludes: "what we cannot speak about we must past over in silence".

[39] this silence is evoked by the second booklet of the wittgenstein paper: its is totally blank. it also suggests, following wittgenstein, that the domain of silence is wider than that in which may reign the clarity of language. [...]

source: Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, 'beyond language', in herman de vries. les livres & les publications (Cdla : Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche 2005) 38-39.

published references
catalogue raisonné herman de vries. les livres et les publications : catalogue raisonné / textes de herman de vries, Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, Didier Mathieu (Centre des livres d'artistes : Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche 2005) images repr. on pages 116-117, 114 (catalogue number 21).