Proposals for Self-Ascension (The Space of a Handshake), 2012
2 3'x4'x1' stairs, plywood, covered in lime
Pyramids were built to celebrate the immortality of kings or the magic of priestly practices. Ascension is the main essence of its construction: its outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top. George Bataille associates the pyramid to an edifice of Reason and Science, as opposed to the labyrinth whose myriad mirrors the mysterious ways of Nature. It is not surprising that the pyramid also gives its name to a geometrical form. Sol Le Witt employs it to expand on the potentials of mathematics in generating forms and figures.
Under the strictness of its configuration, it narrates the tragedy of human kind, those who are at the base, stepping on the summit only to put the last stone on the construction. I want to appropriate this form and use it as a celebration for the people. If stones were used to celebrate kings, what materials can reflect the unconscious bond of humanity?
Instead of joining each surface of the pyramid, I wish to erect four separate stringers structures away from the solidity of the completed edifice. I will supply treads that viewers can use to build step by step as they climb up the sculpture. The different stringers will be arranged so that there will be space at the top where no one can walk on but if one extended one’s hand, one could shake the hand of the person opposite. Through human activation of the piece, the pyramid loses its monolithic appearance to assume the function of a staircase. Furthermore the use of white wash, a ‘poor’ material used in workers cottages, on the surface of the staircase/pyramids adds to the ephemeral aspect of the sculpture. Though one is individually engaged in one’s ascension up the sculpture, the meeting that takes place appeases the conflict between the ideal and the “I” as they leave place for the “we”.
The sculpture also reflects the mental space where what appears as purely formal can have a function once the human intervenes. But in the confusion of tools/sculpture/architecture, the human realizes that he is the missing link in the structure.