THE RHETORIC OF COMPOSITION IN JULIEN GUADET'S "ELEMENTS ET THEORIES" (FRANCE)
Earlier scholarship has left Julien Guadet's "Elements et Theories" (1894) inadequately analyzed. This is because Guadet's theory of Composition and its rhetorical stance has not been considered as a modernist instance of the system of contradictions in which the modern idea of composition is embodied.
To understand the mode of formation of the notion of Composition and its related architectural concepts and ideas this dissertation bases its operational concepts on Roland Barthes textual analysis. According to Barthes, the three Greek concepts of Mimesis, Semiosis and Mathesis correspond to the Artistotelian three basic mediations of classical rhetoric: inventio, elocutio, and dispositio. These three mediations entail two kinds of transference: the metaphoric and metonymic.
As architecture entails a metaphoric transference, metaphor is used as a lens filter through which an aesthetic code or system of connotation is construed. Since the advent of scientific method in the seventeenth century, metaphor is transformed from its analogical context to the scientific procedure of metonymic oppositions. Even since composition in architecture laid method and the logic of mathesis as the ground for representation. It is within this framework that this dissertation assesses Guadet's theory of composition.
The mediation or lens filter of method, replaces the traditional problems of human vision and its rhetorical foundation--inventio--by a new theory of optical corrections. Being reduced to the rhetorical category of dispositio, the codes of composition for Guadet, culminates in the myth of photography and its images. This myth plays the role of an ornamental mask of the literal, empirical and functional requirements of building. The mechanical and functional requirements of the building are turned into the structure of the aesthetic code of the plan: poche', parti, mosaique, entourage etc.
This underlying thrust of the mechanical results into the metonymic condensations of the analytique. As a result, metaphor is no longer reconciliatory, it has become rather subversive. Unable to resolve the contradiction between the real world of production and the ideal world of representation, Guadet's theory of composition ends up on the self-destruction on its own principles.