Axis Mundi: The Line and The Matter, 2015, Crushed ferrite magnets, neodymium magnets, steel glass mirror. Ceiling to floor installation, dimensions variable. 4.2 metres installed at Gallery Funaki (middle), 4.4 metres installed at Blacktown Arts Centre (right)
This work was the first of my exploration of the axis mundi, the line between Earth’s celestial poles, the axis upon which our planet spins. This is a universal idea crossing religious, secular and cultural contexts. It links the north and south magnetic poles. Across various belief systems it is considered a connection between celestial and earthly realms. Throughout history cultures have represented the axis mundi using symbols such as tree, ladder, church spire, obelisk, skyscraper and mountain.
The sustained line is drawn through space by linking fragile shards of broken ceramic magnets, which I make by smashing strong industrial magnets with a mortar and pestle. This transformative process, similar to traditional pigment making techniques, breaks down the material’s magnetism, producing a granular material with a fragile magnetic force. The material’s fragility steered the development of the work and its making became a meditation requiring stillness, breath and concentrated precision. The obsessive act of drawing this line stems from my ongoing preoccupation with infinity – the line made up of an infinite number of singular points, and the notion that any line drawn is a mere portion of its infinite potential.
The grey magnetic shards of ceramic ferrite suggest the graphic, and they also bring to mind a ceramic at the opposite end of the spectrum - fine white porcelain. In this, I see a poetic opposition: industrial and decorative, opaque and translucent, dark and light.
In the mirror, the line is sustained and tapers to a single shard. This single point is a symbol for the geometric origin of a line, a mineral particle in clay, the beginning and the end of a form.