Mobius Strip 096 & Sphere to Torus

As I start to progress my practice from the BA Degree show, I am reviewing and analysing certain qualities of the sculptures and the concepts that guided them. I have developed this process throughout my BA, scrutinising each decision which allows me to progress in a methodical way as I tweak aspects of the work as my knowledge of topology grows.

Mobius Strip 096 (Image 1) introduces the concept of topology to spectators through familiarity and is the first of two sculptures to be seen upon entering the gallery space. The sculpture comments on the meditation topologists used which involved counting and Euclidean geometry to guide the mind. Mobius Strip 096 is made up of three interlocking rings to create a three-dimensional skeleton of a sphere, a form which the audience is familiar with. Threaded ninety-six times throughout the sphere is the Mobius strip. The strip is the most recognisable topological form, therefore its inclusion within an introductory sculpture is necessary. The nylon thread (like Naum Gabo) exclusively targets the mind by creating illusions of parabolic curves from the repetition of the Mobius strip. However, the number of threads is non-systematic, used only to highlight the counting applied within meditation and is something I directly reference in my titling, using the zero in ‘096’ to show it is a number and not a year.

Mobius Strip 096, 2018, Clear & Brown acrylic, plywood, cable ties, nylon thread (0.02mm), 150 x 150 x 150cm (dimensions variable)

Sphere to Torus (Image 2) demonstrates properties of topology such as crumpling, folding and stretching. Although the concept’s pure form exists only in the mind, these actions of morphing are typically achieved with our hands. Throughout the Neo-Concrete art movement, Lygia Clark used materials to suggest interaction from the audience. Sphere to Torus also uses materials such as Velcro, hinges and cable ties to suggest the temporary state of the sculpture. These materials provide instructions to the viewer e.g. the hinges will fold only one way, the Velcro attaches and detaches in specific areas. The use of cable ties may be visually dominant due to quantity, however it is preferable over the residue left behind by adhesives. The titling also acts as instruction, the sculpture folds from a sphere into the topological form ‘torus’.

Sphere to Torus, 2018, Clear & Brown acrylic, Plywood, cable ties, Velcro, plastic hinges, 150 x 150 x 150cm (dimensions variable)

I designed the sculptures to have a diagrammatic appearance with influence from scientific models such as gyroscopes and orreries. Key materials such as wood and Perspex, alongside the use of stands to display the sculptures, offers a practicality as well as the refined aesthetic of an apparatus. Originally, I used preparatory drawings to develop my understanding of form and these were illustrated on a light-burgundy graph paper, also informing my choice of wood and colour. By including a horizontal ring of brown Perspex viewers’ attentions are directed into the centre of each sculpture whilst also eliminating any external concepts relating to colour theory. Upon reflection and further maquette experimentation, I found the inclusion of a coloured, mirrored acrylic offers a contemporary presence more relatable to a modern audience.

Although both sculptures were highly accomplished at being visually stimulating, I was keen to let the works become haptic and through this interaction the spectators would be able to have an insight into the concept of topology.  However, this wasn’t successful in doing so. I believe the scale of the works were too large and intimidating for such interaction to be possible. Also my choice of material (Gloss Perspex) is known to show finger prints, however prior to the opening I had polished both sculptures to eliminate any marks being shown, in doing so I believe I deturbed any spectators from wanting to interact as they would ‘mark’ the sculpture.

The qualities I have discovered from reviewing the works are my choice of materials and scale, I plan to use this information alongside further topological methods to demonstrate how sculpture can be interacted with.

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