Original Elements

An installation in Winter Solstice IV: Standards and Shifts in Contemporary Art

For the "Winter Solstice IV" show, I was invited to create an installation in the vault of the Exchange Gallery, White Plains, NY (My work is featured on the announcement). 16 December 2005-25 January 2006 See The Studio's announcement page for further details about the two-site exhibition, curated by Tedd Stratis. I titled the installation "Original Elements":

The show was reviewed in the New York Times on January 1st 2006, with a picture of Money Cairn II.

Original Elements

Fire, air, earth, and water are bodies and therefore solids, and solids are contained in planes, and plane rectilinear figures are made up of triangles. These we may fairly assume to be the original elements of fire and the other bodies ... and there is none more beautiful than that which forms the half of an equilateral triangle.

The first solid is a regular pyramid, of which the base and sides are formed by four equilateral ... triangles.

Plato - Timaeus Translated by Benjamin Jowett

This installation, in what was once the vault of a bank, is the product of a convergence of ideas about landscape, money, probability and entropy, explicitly constructed from Plato's original elements.

The installation consists of four pieces:

Money cairn & Money Cairn II, appropriately for works in a bank vault, use bank notes as their raw material. US bank notes have the correct proportions for folding a tetrahedron and the $1 bill depicts a pyramid. Here the tetrahedra are combined into a form from the landscape to embody ideas about the precariousness of both the monetary system as a whole and the financial security of those in the cash economy.

Aleatory landscape multiplies the same elemental form in an allegory of the random processes and atomic components that go to make physical landscape. The giant tetrahedral dice fall haphazardly like the four-sided astragaloi used in ancient divination, symbolizing entropy contrasted with the incontestably constructed form of the cairn.

Cuboctahedron tensegrity is a more complex figure, with contrasted geometric forms of steel in compression and light in tension, representing the elements of earth and fire (composed of invisibly small cubes and tetrahedra respectively in Plato's explanation of the elements) in a shape given particular significance in Buckminster Fuller's philosophy of synergetics.

Money Cairn II (still)

All works, both originals and the photographs thereof, contained in these pages are the work of Andrew Senior and are copyright.
© 2006 Andrew Senior