Created and Sold by Benjamin Ball


Double Back-to-Basics


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One of a Kind item
Created for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) off-site gallery at the Charles W. White School, Double Back-to-Basics is comprised of brightly colored letters constructed using paper and assembled in a form suggestive of a monumental arch scaled to the size of a child. Viewed from the gallery entrance, the monument has characteristics of a wall; when seen from the opposite side it resembles a heap or pile - a primitive architectural structure and the most rudimentary form of monument. The letters are the cousins of the magnetized refrigerator variety used to teach children written language. Here, the characters instruct but they also serve as bricks, the most elemental components of architecture. Unlike bricks made of clay, which are solid and heavy, these bricks are hollow and lightweight -- in structural terminology they are “shells.” Using a fabrication process developed by Ball Nogues, the letters were formed of recycled paper pulp then colored with natural dyes and infused with wildflower seeds; repurposing what was once waste while generating new life in the form of flora. Rather than conceiving the work as an unchanging installation, the designers view it as a continuum -- from unformed material to the constructed monument to dismantling and beyond. When the project is taken down after six months, students will be able to create their own flower gardens using the refuse from the original structure. The letter is the fundamental unit of written language; the brick is the fundamental unit of architecture, the seed is the fundamental unit of life. Double Back to Basics is a monument to these elements. It is a monument that changes form from stasis to dispersion into the urban environment: its disappearance is as essential as its presence. Double Back-to-Basics is a monument to transformation.

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