Each work within the series entitled “From the Library of…” is a depiction of an imaginary library housing a multitude of containers or repositories for knowledge, represented by hand-blown mirrored...
Each work within the series entitled “From the Library of…” is a depiction of an imaginary library housing a multitude of containers or repositories for knowledge, represented by hand-blown mirrored objects. These archives propose to contain knowledge within unique, material objects “as mysterious as the knowledge itself,” suggesting that knowledge is “potentially beyond words or books.” Viewers look within each frame to a vista of endlessly-refracted hexagonal architecture, implying that each library is in itself vast, and also just one of many possible libraries.
This “library” proposes to contain knowledge within hand-blown glass objects that represent the interrelationships and harmonic proportions to be found between heavenly bodies. The work is an homage to the visionary musician and poet Sun Ra, who spoke of the harmonies in the cosmos, and the musical, tonal relationship between planets. McElheny explains, “I wanted to create something that would speak metaphorically to this idea. This work proposes that there could be an infinite library of interplanetary sounds, of the massive harmonic vibrations between celestial bodies. Even gravitational waves are in effect a kind of sound, and can be interpreted into the scale by which we hear.”
The suspended spheres within this “library” were created to physically match the frequency and proportion—and thus the physical size—of the sound waves belonging to the musical scale F-sharp Minor. According to current cosmological thinking, this musical scale correlates to the evolution of the gravitational waves in the expansion of the universe.
Josiah McElheny, Libraries, with a Film by Jeff Preiss and Josiah McElheny, James Cohan, 291 Grand Street, April 17 - June 12, 2021