A page of drawings possibly inspired by the shocking opening scene of the surrealist film, Un Chien Andalou, in which a woman’s eye is cut in half with a razor. The madman who wields the razor is played by the filmmaker himself, Luis Bunuel. Robert saw the film with his brother Doug, who told him of a film theory that interpreted the scene in this way: the eye represented the camera and the knife represented the process of editing. Together, eye plus knife represent two key aspects of cinema technique, seeing and selecting, to say nothing of framing and the reordering and compression of time.
The eye is also thought of as the window to the soul or as a reflection of personality. In many studies of cinema, the eye represents power, the dominant gaze, who controls the narrative or the point of view which influences the way the story is told and received. In his sketches, Robert has the blade of the knife function much like a mirror. Does it reflect the eyes of a victim or of an assailant? Is the artist a kind of criminal in his defiance of the laws of logic and space? In the colour sketch, the knife is the same colour as the world outside, as if it were a sluice of that world.