Nina Rodin>2011> 55 (Universality of the singular)




55 (Universality of the singular)

date > February 2011
media > origami birds in display case
size > 50 x 39.5cm


> ‘Universality of the singular’ is a series of 20 entomology boxes with 55 origami birds, each pinned with a conservation pin to the white foam bottom. The beautiful hinged boxes are from Deyrolle in Paris. This shop is like walking into a 19th century natural history museum and always connects me to my deep fascination for natural sciences. I love the conventions of traditional scientific display which I have used in this work: reverent if a bit cruel.

> These 1,100 birds were folded during my time at the Slade School of fine Art from 2009 to 2011, on the tube on the daily commute, in doctor’s waiting rooms, in lectures, during crits. Unlike the first 1000 birds I folded for my unborn daughter, these were folded in the spirit of a meditation on diversity. Though each set of 55 is folded with the same 55 different origami papers as the next, every fold reveals a different detail of the intricate design. Half the boxes are black, the other half are red, in a system of one of each that I often employ in my work.

> In a way, they were an act of resistance against an art school setting that can at times be very judgmental and didactic. I felt a need to constantly remind myself how diverse and wonderful humanity is, outside the confines of the selected elite of a famous art school. I was saddened at times by how some students (and more rarely some tutors) would attempt to impose their worldview and personal preferences with sweeping statements of value about the Art world which in my view is precisely the place within the human condition, where there should be space for the utterly singular, the most eccentric difference, even to the point of a madness that may shock and elude our understanding. At best an artwork is utterly singular rather than reproducible and that is the universal attraction of art.

> The boxes were not designed to stay together, but rather to be sold or given away singly. Some left in pairs but all now live in different homes, scattered across a dozen countries and several continents. Originally, I wanted to keep the details of every box’s location but one was lost early on - sold on without a record of the new owners name or address. And that’s ok, my joy was in the moment of folding.’


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