October 2021
Welded steel
L 15.3 x W 14.8 x H 12.5 in
This piece is inspired by a writing / article by Michael Arrigo entitled "A Grotesque Paradise: The Roots of Culture in the Visual Ontology of Chaos". Arrigo recounts a story from the Chuang-Tzu, a traditional Taoist text, which tells of a benevolent but grotesque creature from Chinese tradition called Hun-tun. As the story goes, there were two emperors who were treated kindly by Hun-tun, and therefore decided to repay him by boring him the seven openings which man uses to eat, breathe, and see. They gave him one hole per day, but Hun-tun, being a creature of primordial chaos and not a man, died on the seventh day. My piece has six holes and represents Hun-tun's transformation from a faceless, lumpy, grotesque being into something more recognizable to us humans, who inhabit a world of order. The conceptual and material attributes of the steel, which is hard, impermeable, and man-made, lent themselves to this particular depiction of the events described in the text. The sculpture is symmetrical and zoomorphic, representing the penultimate day of the well-intentioned yet ill-fated endeavor to bestow order upon Hun-tun.