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Collection Analysis: Numbers Without Their Skins

The body of work consists of a series of ten poems and ten corresponding paintings. Each of the poems speaks about a number from one to ten. Each of the ten poems is arranged to follow a strict set of rules: each poem must be exactly seven lines, each line must use only five words, no words are to be capitalized, and each poem must end in a rhyming couplet. The poems are titled from “one 1” to “ten 10”. The poems approach the numbers very abstractly, through the iteration of personal experiences, memories, and observations.

Mimicking the constrictions of the poetry, the corresponding paintings also follow a series of restrictions: each canvas is 16”by20”, the background is silver, the only other colour used is black, the numbers are devoid of curves, and the words (with the exception of the pronoun “I”), are not capitalized. Each painting depicts a number from one to ten. This depiction is the most abstract and linear essence of each number. The only curves allowed in the paintings are contained within language, in contrast to the sharp edges of the numerical system. 

Each painting also contains four words: a number, and the three most essential words from each poem. These words relate directly to the poem, as they are a summary of it. Simultaneously, the words become poems within themselves. Each three-word poem assumes a dual status: a language poem and a visual poem at once, since written on canvas.

The paintings are not illustrations of the poems, but they are rather correlations and extensions of them. Each painting is to be exhibited to the right of the corresponding poem, which must be framed. Together, the poem and the painting, create a unified work. The series must not be broken apart.

Numbers Without Their Skins is an approach to bind language, art, and the numerical system in a single form, through which they can speak simultaneously with independent and united voices. The series involves the smooth fusion of elements which are completely different and opposite, and thus the body of work becomes a symbol of universal happiness.

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