Tabula / octaedron
Wall painting, neon light
Lugano pubblic library
A library is theke a container originating from the desire to save stories, ideas... to enclose them in books, order them, catalogue and sometimes control them. The result is books which are in themselves theke, small libraires and the origin of millions of other possible tales. They are for example things like A thousand and one nights, the Mahabharata, the Bible, the Ulysses, the Encyclopedia... I imagine a library as the place for books, and books as the source of inspiration coming directly from script. The light which it gives off is black (“ ... I am black, but comely / dark but bright as the morn”)1. The calligrapher Hâshin ibn Sâlim said: “The ink appears black to the eyes, but white to the understanding.”
Tabula (black lines upon a white background) : “The white-black contrast is part of the written page. It is the plane of contact between the material world and that of truth. Reading crosses this plane, transforms seeing (Basar) into understanding or vision (basîra), an action similar to that of mysticsm.”2 The grill structure drawn on the walls of the space designs a perspective plane. The interlaced lines originate from two points placed horizontally at the opposite poles of the space, from which they irradiate meeting to form a plane. The lines gradually slip from a horizontal to a diagonal position, in the same way as the black vanishes into the white background. The tabula is an orderly diagram in which ideas, writing, books, are contained, a “machine” to help us find our way in this space which refers back to the Tami’s idea of a library: to rationalize the spaces according to the contents and that which surrounds them.3 Octaedron (a luminous polygon hung in the space) : This is a solid geometrical figure radiating the electrical light of neon tubes, hanging in mid-air. The octaedron is one of the five Platonic solids and refers to the element air. Here it portrays knowledge understood as the source of light and is at the same time an aerial element representing the volatile condition of thought. It is made up of two square based pyramids whose summits are respectively turned upwards and downwards. These summits portray the following poles: intuition-thought, expansion-contraction, chaos-order, etc. Contrasts are reconciled in the octaedron and thanks to them it can symbolize the idea of inspiration which comes from the script (dark but shining...).
1 Song of Solomon 1,5 2 Cfr.: Dominique Clevelon. Une estetique du voile, essai sur l’art arabo islamique. Ed. L’Harmattan, Paris 1994. 3 The Tamis make clear in a precise manner the functional assets of their project, and a functional plan which has become famous: the key to the organization is the distribution room that is “the heart of the system”. This room, which is actually a small counter, is located on the hinge of the “L” made up of the block reading room-offices-storeroom. From this location the library clerks have complete control of all the main functions: entry, exposition, catalogue, magazines, reading room; moreover the counter is in direct contact with the book storeroom.