Mother Tongue 51
Peter Randall-Page’s sculptures, drawings and printed graphics have been exhibited around the world for the last 30 years. During this time his work has come to form part of public and private collections in Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well as in the United States and in many parts of Europe – in London, for example, in the Tate Gallery and British Museum. He is perhaps best known for his stone sculptures in the public open space. But in whatever medium or material, the decisive quality of his work springs from his intensive preoccupation with geometry. Working with natural stone or clay, he derives his inspiration from a study of organic forms and their impact on the observer. In some of his works he barely changes the form of a naturally-occurring object, in others he overcomes an uncontrolled biomorphic growth in favour of a geometrical clarity. Of note, also, is the richly expressive and variegated way he exploits both the geometry within the natural order, and the mathematical principles underlying natural patterns and phenomena.
Providing an insight into the range of Randall-Page’s work, ten of the artist’s sculptures are being shown in different locations in “Blickachsen 9”.
In Frankfurt three of his works in Kilkenny limestone can be seen on the university’s Westend and Riedberg campuses respectively.
With this blue limestone, mined from a quarry in Kilkenny, Ireland, Randall-Page has chosen a sedimentary stone formed in coastal areas over millions of years as his working material. Its carbon content and the fossilised remains of marine life give the stone its characteristic appearance. It is to this that the title of two of the works on the Riedberg campus, “By Another Ocean”, apparently makes reference – as do their organic form and wave-like lines, which also determine the look of “Mother Tongue”.
On the Westend campus, on the other hand, three geometrically perfect egg-shapes are to be seen, whose titles “Corpus”, “Fructus” and “Phyllotaxus” – a nomenclature suggesting the natural sciences – point by contrast to the world of biology. They form part of a working series centred on the sculptor’s preoccupation with natural patterns of growth – for example, the spiral arrangement of leaves and fruit in a plant (phyllotaxis), as in the sculpture entitled “Phyllotaxus”, created for “Blickachsen 9”.
At the excavation site of the Altes Jagdhaus fortress, which is the second of the “Blickachsen 9” locations on the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Limes, four granite sculptures, each with a very different surface design, are on display. For this forest location, in which sections of the original Roman wall have also been preserved, Randall-Page has chosen four works made from granite boulders. In contrast to the works displayed on the Westend campus, the artist has here adapted the patterns observed in nature to the mathematically chaotic form of the stone, created over millions of years of erosion. In doing so, he addresses the dynamic relationship between geometric order and random natural change, and mirrors the prevailing balance of order and chaos. The works, entitled “Cupressus” – the scientific name for cypresses, and indeed the stone does remind one of cypress cones – “Exhalation”, “Sum of the Parts” and “Flayed Stone”, seem to belong to their natural surroundings, and yet have clearly been made by Man.