TORONTO — Canadian artist Micah Lexier never works in the same medium twice, so when he tried his hand at contemporary ceramic art he did it in grand style with more than 1.6 million tiny ceramic components that join to form perfect circles.
Above image: Micah Lexier, Two Circles (facing Adelaide Street), 2016. Photograph by Tom Arban.
Two Circles (2016) calls the eastern tower of the Bay-Adelaide Centre of Toronto home. The building is part of the city’s financial district and the installation was paid for from a Toronto program that requires private developers to offer public art in their public spaces. The citizens of Toronto have something other than a plain office building to look at and the developers certainly got their money’s worth by hiring Lexier. One black circle and one white circle will become landmarks, recognizable from a distance. They’re also dynamic. We don’t notice the universe of detail within the circles until we step up close. Lexier told The Globe and Mail:
“The challenge was to make a work that could be seen driving by, but that would also work up-close. That was the task I set myself,” the Canadian artist said in a recent interview.
“The building [designed by KPMB Architects] was perfect, monumental. It just needed one more simple element in that space.”
Urban Toronto took a tour of the new artwork and described it in detail:
From a distance, the circles might appear to be black paint on a white plaster wall. At that level, Lexier suggests that the perfect geometry and universality of circles represents both the scientific and the spiritual. This is a building with a financial services firm as lead tenant—precision is key—but the art also addresses our aspirations for a less tangible kind of wholeness.
As one draws closer, however, the circles are revealed to be made up of ceramic tiles; stick-shaped, incredible quantities of them, each unique.
The south wall has 169 rows of them. The two-floor-high north wall has 263 rows of them.
Each of the south wall rows have 2,068 tiles on average, the north wall rows have on average 1,834 tiles.
Every tile is snapped in half. In fact, some are in three pieces. At minimum, that makes for 1,663,668 pieces—no-one knows the exact total—which were then hand assembled and grouted in sections, and then installed in the lobby in a monumental effort over three months.
There’s a staggered line through each row where the snapped tiles join. To create its fall and rise, the haphazardly snapped tiles had to be carefully sorted and ordered. Lexier’s intention is to evoke in the lines the minutiae of our existence, like heartbeats from an electrocardiogram, or stock market swings, or the ripples of sound waves.
We’ve attached other examples of Lexier’s work for your pleasure.
About the Artist
Lexier was born in 1960 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He attended the University of Manitoba, earning his BFA in 1982. He received his MFA in 1984 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He lives and works in Toronto.
Do you love or loathe this work of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.