Twelve & the 13th
Diameter: 6000mm, Height: 2000mm
Small heads 330mm×330mm×330mm
Large head 660mm×660mm×660mm
Twelve & the 13th
Art '98, the London Contemporary Art Fair
This is an installation of thirteen heads, twelve of which are identical in dimension and the thirteenth head is twice as large. The installation is designed in accordance with geometrical rules. It follows the division of circle into square and further crystallization of form. A point once extended forms a line with no dimension. The line becomes the radius of a circle and the circle presents the potential for division. A square can contain the circle or it can be contained within the circle.’ The square provides the root 2 proportional systems. Within the square is generated a series of harmonic squares whose sides are also in the root 2 proportion. The square in rotation becomes the octagon.’¹ And the octagon crystallizes into infinity of forms and shapes. Twelve and the 13th began with twelve blocks of stone, identical in dimension. Within the square block exists a perfect sphere. The sphere, the desired sphere, it is the reflection of a point, a point with no dimension. The journey from one to twelve is an investigation into the desired Sphere. The possibilities of the form are investigated, the many faces of the sphere.
’O Lord how marvellous is Thy face
Thy face, which a young man, if he strove to imagine it, would conceive as a youth's; a full-grown man, as manly; an aged man as an aged man's! Who could imagine this sole pattern, most true and most adequate, of all faces - of all even as of each - this pattern so very perfectly of each as if it were of none other? He would have to go beyond all forms of faces, and all likenesses and all figures. And how could he imagine a face when he must go beyond all faces, and all likenesses and figures of all faces and all concepts which can be formed of a face, and all colour, adornment and beauty of all of all faces? Wherefore he that goeth forward to behold Thy face, so long as he formeth any concept, thereof, is far from Thy face. For all concept of a face falleth short, Lord, of Thy face, and all beauty which can be conceived is less than the beauty of Thy face; every face hath beauty yet none is beauty's self, but Thy face, Lord, hath beauty and this having is being. 'Tis therefore Absolute Beauty itself, which is the form that giveth being to every beautiful form. 0 face exceedingly comely, whose beauty all things to whom it is granted to behold it, suffice not to admire! In all faces is seen the Face of faces, veiled, and in a riddle; howbeit unveiled it is not seen, until above all faces a man enter into a certain secret and mystic silence where there is no knowledge or concept is the state below which Thy face entereth when he goeth beyond all knowledge or concept of a face. This mist, cloud, darkness, or ignorance into which he that seeketh Thy face 'entereth when he goeth beyond all knowledge or concept is the state below which Thy face cannot be found except veiled; but that very darkness revealeth Thy face there, beyond all veils.’²
Twelve is a number, perhaps of a significant value. Any given number is the smaller sum of its proceeding one. Twelve as significant as it may be, it is not more so than the thirteenth. The Thirteenth creates a different proportional system and it is suggestive of the multitude, the plurality and the insignificance of the significant.
1- Extract from Pattern in Islamic Art by David Wade. Published by Studio Vista London, Cassell & Collier Macmillan Publishers Ltd 1976.
2- Extract from The vision of God by Nicholas of Cusa. Translated by Emma gurney Salter. Published by J M Dent and Sons, 1928.