Sliceform of Fano Variety, Paper model, Copper etching, 2012
Gemma Anderson and Tom Coates
Fano Varieties Chimera, Copper Etching, Japanese Ink, 2012
Leverhulme Artist in Residence, Imperial College 2011-2012
It’s hard to find decent info about this project in one place, so I’ve grouped a bunch of links together in one place. Apologies for the ugliness.
For want of a website, I’d better write about the content of this talk:
Gemma was attracted by a periodic table of shapes – fano manifolds – that the maths department produced, and made an etching with said manifolds grouped according to their formal, visual similarities. They show some casts and sliceforms from etchings and talk about workshops on drawing in 4 dimensions. Drawing geometric 4 dimensions has been done, so they attempt a project drawing a tree in 4 dimensions (which at first the mathematician thought was very silly. He suggested that mathematicians in the audience shut off technical thinking, and instead focus on sensation). They began to think about learning to draw the possible shapes of the universe – an ontogenetic series for the history of the world would be 5-dimensional. The process that they use, deconstruction into elements with which to then construct, is also present in art practice. They speak about drawing as forming a common language for collaboration.
There’s a very amusing meeting of art-speak and maths-speak here – deconstruction vs. pairs of pants.
Mathematician Alessio Corti reflects, “I’m a pure mathematician. I don’t try to explain my work to the layperson, it’s a waste of my time and it can’t be done. My friends tell me I have my head too much in the clouds. I’m a tree with my roots up in the sky and I grow down and with this project I put a branch into the earth.” Gemma Anderson gives a quote from Goethe: “The archetypal plant shall be the most marvelous creature in the world, and nature shall envy me for it. With this model and the key to it one can invent plants ad infinitium that must be consistent, i.e., that could exist even if they do not in fact, and are just picturesque or fanciful shadows, but have instead an inner truth and necessity”
Great! They’ve also written a paper on it. I’ll write about that in another post.
I would have to say, though, that from my reading of the interaction, it doesn’t sound like it was an easy process.