Thursday, March 04, 2004

Fingerprints! Who are we?? What's going on here?

I couldn't have put it better myself...
"His most recent work, "Fingerprints", is a series of large intricate steel reproductions of individual's fingerprints. This series invites the viewer to appreciate the wonderfully complex nature of the fingerprint's organic form which is all too easily lost in its everyday meaning as the quintessential representation of individuality."
Zack Booth Simpson writing about the fingerprints in steel of Frank Plant, Austin, Texas, 2001

I kinda remember when it hit me, vaguely... I had already been working with the drawings in steel for a couple of years and was mostly concerned with the replication of everyday objects, coffe cups, corkscrews and the like. I was definitely in Barcelona in the studio. I went downstairs and began to look up fingerprints on google. In some dark alley of the internet I stumbled across a reasonably good image of a scan of an arrest record of Malcolm X with his fingerprints, I downloaded it and I still rue the day.

Back in the day before I went completely techno I would print out a copy of the fingerprint do a graph over the top and then transfer that times ten in chalk onto the floor of my studio, very laborious. Now I just print the whole thing out on A4's and cut and tape them together. Equally laborious but perhaps a smidge less tedious. I was on to something...

Wow, organic forms, beautiful I really liked the result and not only that I got great responses from the posse that would normally come around the studio and gawk, drink beers and generally get up to things disreputable.
I continued to ruminate on the subject and it took me to all sorts of strange places, a little bit like a labyrinth.... Yes a labyrinth! And yes a portrait, a hyper realistic portrait. Just a bit of a twisted angle on the age old idea of portraiture. Like always I like the graphic quality of the bars of steel and with the fingerprint they meld together to make a very bold portrait. the vast majority of these that i did are about one meter to one meter twenty wide and one meter fifty to one meter sixty high.

Big suckers using twelve millimeter round steel bar. Up until this point these were the first works that I did that I really had problems to get around the studio, they weigh a ton. After the first couple though you realize the creative work is done and it's really just about fabrication and a lot of fabrication at that. Cutting, bending, grinding, cutting, bending, grinding.... and on and on forever and ever.
The figerprints have treated me well and I have exhibited them far and wide across the land and I even branched out into what I consider the collective fingerprint of human communities, maps. The photo below was taken at Sala Can Felipa from a juried show called "Dades Essencials" from the 9th of December 2003 until the 10th of January 2004.

The map shown here is that of Paris. I have always liked maps and with creating this one I wanted to try and strip it of it's normal meaning as a tool for orientation and navigation and give people an oppurtunity to look at it as only a complex formation found in nature, not unlike the fingerprints. Maps as design, as semi calculated evolving grids and networks with their own inherent aesthetics.