jay rechsteiner

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Tribal connections


Tribal connections is a sculpture that is composed of a seemingly infinite number of smaller arrangements that are carefully placed within a given geometrical über-form (See image below). The entirety of the carefully placed arrangements make up the sculpture. The arrangements are made up of various everyday items.

The sculpture is to be constructed from the centre outwards, imitating the natural pattern of growth.

The elements (= objects) of the constructions/arrangements are placed loosely, i.e. not fixed with glue, nails. They are in constant and eminent danger of falling apart and hence falling into their naturally correct place as I believe that human established chaos/order does not withstand the natural order of things. It is possible to re-erect and even change the arrangements (remove, replace, add elements) during the course of a specific time. This process keeps the sculpture 'alive'.

The actual and final form of Tribal connection is to be established during the process. I would consider the following forms:

  • cube
  • cuboid
  • tetrahedron
  • pyramid
  • cyliner
Tribal Connections, sculpture by Jay Rechsteiner

Tribal Connections, sculpture by Jay Rechsteiner


Concept/background: Chaos, order, patterns

The sculpture imitates nature. I believe that all the things we do are mere acts of imitating/copying natural processes and patterns. The different degrees of the deviation from the original provide us with an infinite number of alternatives. One finds this in all aspect of human culture, scientific research etc. It is what we do: we arrange things, we arrange things to make life more pragmatic or lovely to look at, e.g. flower pots arranged according to their colours, archive photographs arranged chronologically, words in a sentence that delivers a message, the rhythm of a base guitar. We arrange things in very specific orders without being aware of it as it is hot-wired into our brains. When we for example set the table we arrange all the plates along the the edges of the table with the fork on the left and the knife to the right of the plates. In the middle we place bowls etc. During the course of the meal those items get re-arranged according to more pragmatic means. At the end of the meal, depending on the amount of people and the consumption, we can end up in seemingly chaotic state of things without any order. If one, however, examines the so-called chaos, a natural order of things becomes apparent. An underlying structure connects every single element to each other, hence creating a perfect balance. You find natural arrangements also in other aspects of life as for example in sound, rhythm, story telling. Patting a certain rhythm on the bum of a baby in order to calm it down. The rhythm can be complex (e.g. long and short pauses between pattings) or simple. The more one is exposed to an order, the more clearer the order becomes even if one perceives it as chaotic in the beginning as the brain recognizes repeating patterns.

Tribal connections explores in general terms my understanding of chaos and natural order. Chaos arises from interference, i.e. a disruptive element that occurs in a pattern (= a repetitive process). Such a disruption can be the interference from a fault, a freak accidents or from an other system such as (un)wilful action by a human being in order to change something (an arrangement). Nature will however eventually process that element by digesting, integrating, deleting it or by merging together with another system in order to survive and go on. The occurrence of a disruptive element and the actions taken by nature can be part of a pattern (degree of complexity of a pattern.)



4 'o' and 1 '/' repeated twice, then 'x' which seems to disruptive the established pattern. However, if the four 'o' and one '/' appear twice again followed by 'x', then we have a new pattern.

Tribal Connections, sculpture by Jay Rechsteiner

Order is calm and chaos is loud. The loudest bangs have a sense of calmness as long as the single bangs are in a repetitive pattern. The same applies to visual arts, a balanced composition of colours and forms radiates a calm feeling whereas a badly composed painting is nervous and 'loud'. I would to achieve a calm but vibrant feel with Tribal Connections.


Sculpture vs installation

The boundry between sculpture and installation seems blurry at times. In my personal opinion a sculpture is a piece of work that is mainly about form and confined within a geometical form whereas installation work is not bound by form.

Tribal connections can be compared with the works of the American artist Sarah Sze. The main difference is that Tribal connections is strictly confined within a given geometical form such as for example a cube or a cone whereas Sara Sze's work seems to cross the limits of a given form and growth organically into space.The strict boundaries (geometrical form) limit the work on the one hand but on the other hand increase the depth of it. Keeping one's work within such boundaries can be very complicated and difficult at time as there is no escape from the form. I think this is one of the main differences between Tribal connections and the work of Sarah Sze. Another difference is that Tribal connections consists of various smaller arrangements are not fixed and finally fall apart.

Tribal Connections, sculpture by Jay Rechsteiner





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