In regards to numbers I have been working on a series of sculptural projects constantly referring to my bodily dimensions as an outlet to find forms.
The piece What cannot be said Must be pass over in silence derived from two lines of thought and my conflict with representation. The title of the piece comes from Wittgenstein’s final proposition from Tractaus-Logicus-Philosophicus, it solidified my intention to create an abstract work as the feeling I wanted to express was beyond words, representation as the personal was an issue to tackle.
To make it personal, I used my height to represent myself in order to create something of a self-portrait of the state-of-mind I was in. Approaching the work like this made sense that I would have been able to imbue the essence of myself inside the form of the work, my height as the dimension of the piece thus served as the form, whatever was to go inside would have been sculptural activity – the sporadic movements of tape.
I revisited Nauman in my final year of art school after three years of indifference to his work. I became hooked after studying Nauman’s Six Inches Of My Knee Extended To Six Feet, 1967, which created a deep impact on me during the process of creation What cannot be said Must be pass over in silence His work helped me to formalise a method of turning to numbers as a guide to finding form for a work. I had the concept of creating a mild steel frame out of the form of the Chinese symbol – 日, which translates as the almighty sun, but I had no idea of size? Big or small? Either direction seemed meaningless and impersonal; Nauman’s knee sculpture cerebrally finessed the project for its brilliance and simplicity, using his own dimensions and expanding it to create new work as a study of the human condition. I followed, right move. I used my height of 175 cm to scale the work What cannot be said Must be pass over in silence.
What Cannot be Said Must Pass Over in Silence was a very serious sculpture at the time; I wanted my next piece of work to be less serious with the same thought process. I measured my penis and multiplied it by six, six being a common frivolous number. I cut a mild steel square rectangle hollow tube to these dimensions. An Extended Thing. Too Extended, To be Used, Reasonably, is a mild steel sculpture that protrudes out from the wall at six times of the dimension of my penis. Circuitously my penis is present within the sculpture, its’ essence is there; it’s essence as form.
The next project I am working on pushes this thought of bodily dimension as metaphysics further. Again, I will be using the dimensions of my body as a guidance to create forms of metal pieces that will expand in a space, thus imbuing my essence in a space that will bleed across.
The beauty, which is more a sculptural-intellectual stimulus, of creating and understanding work in this fashion, is that it creates multi-lateral ways of connecting the work and the sources by number, number being an alternative method of labelling outside of labels (nouns), unless we begin to meditate on numbers as something not of language but that would be a game of fly-in-the-jar.
Numbers represent. Figurative representation is beyond dead, causing one to wince like seeing tourist art on a postcard. Hence, the number as form for a work is for me, at least, an approach of wit and the metaphysical. The choice is plethora and infinitum, even infinitum as number as subject matter is rich and inside of tumbling and wrestling with contextualising the meaning of numbers, there is a necessity of wit required.