PROPOSED ARTWORK FOR NEW MTN HEADQUARTER BUILDING AS AMENDED
In consultation with the MTN Art Institute, planners, designers and architects of the new MTN Headquarter Building, I hereby submit my proposal for an artwork entitled CHIASMUS for the reception area of the above building. I am a 'conceptualist' artist and my work usually contains elements of text, language and the processing of information and I would like to make a work true to the way I normally work.
The reception area will be frequented by a constant stream of visitors. The previous motto of MTN - 'A BETTER CONNECTION' - and the new motto - 'HELLO THE FUTURE' - is enacted at reception where people connect. Some will pass through after announcing themselves and others will wait to be fetched or attended to. My work will be there to form some kind of reassuring 'connection.' Visitors will experience and enjoy it either in passing it, or by meditatively pondering its idiosyncrasies whilst waiting. The artwork is therefore to contain elements of wit and repartee - to make people think, to entertain them and to cause informal conversation.
To play on the notion of connecting and dialogue I have chosen the letter 'X' - in Greek known as a chi. The title of my piece, CHIASMUS, derives from the Greek letter chi, written as an X. In its original sense a chiasmus is a figure of speech in which two ideas connect in reverse form. It indicates a turn of phrase that grammar students now seldom study, but that is nevertheless still in use. It consists in a 'crossing over' (a 'chi-ing' or 'X-ing') of two phrases that seem to be repeated in reversed word order that, together, make an insightful or amusing statement. To understand the twisting of phrases in a chiasmus one has to pause for a moment to think. Some examples of such a 'crossing over' of phrases are:
- It is the dull man who is always sure - and the sure man who is always dull. Victor Hugo
- The magician pulls rabbits out of hats, and the shrink pulls habits out of rats. Anonymous
- A brother may not be a friend, but a friend will always be a brother. Poor Richard Saunders
- Never let a fool kiss you - or a kiss fool you. Mae West
- Winners never quit and quitters never win. Anonymous
- Age doesn't protect you from love, but love protects you from age. Jeanne Moreau
In my research I have considered variations on the oblique cross, the 'X', also called the St. Andrew's cross. It is universally applied to a number of things, often with a sense of humour. In CHIASMUS the X's will 'mark the spot'. They could also be kisses (XXXXX) with writing on them. When we vote, we use an 'X' and we play the game of 'Noughts and Crosses' calculatingly with X's and O's. In Roman numerals we write ten as X, twenty as XX and so on. If we don't know someone's name, we often refer to them as Mr, Mrs or Miss 'X'. I even have some X-rated chiasmuses in my collection, the public display of which might not be wise. Visitors to MTN will certainly be entertained when the X-factor 'crosses' their path.
Philosophically I intend to invoke the ancient myth of Narcissus who looked at the curioius reflections in a deep pond only to fall in love with his own image.
I have, through time, collected a number of chiasmuses and I wish to sandblast these on the underside of baked glass material. On the upper side of the glass, aligned to the open shape formed by the oblique cross, I wish to sandblast a feint pattern of lines or dots. This blank space with writing on will look a little like two boomerangs touching at their outer bends. I envisage the glass rectangle to be about 1sq metre and 12mm thick. The glass is oven-baked and will lie flat along a suitable under-surface of about 3mm thick that will provide stability and that might also be used to enhance the design. I wish to display seven (but fourteen or even more pieces might also be suitable, depending on the density of objects and people occupying the reception area) of these crosses in glass as a welcoming salute in strategic positions along the floor of the reception area.
The grand design of the tiled floor as already decided by its designers upon will remain unspoilt. The glass sections will function like small 'lakes' on the geometry the tiled 'landscape'. They will serve as make-believe memory pools, giving a glimpse at the truisms that sometimes govern or enhance our lives. I suggest that the positioning and actual instalment of the glass rectangles take place only after the floor is laid. It is wise to plan the positioning of couches, tables, planters and other bits of furniture first - I would hate for part of my artwork to land up under a sofa, rug or counter.