Born 1949 in Saint-Mandé (F), lives in Paris
Literature at the Art Library Sitterwerk

© Parkett

© Parkett

Percy John Heawood Theorem, 2005

Polyurethane, 28 × 16 × 4.8 cm

In his images, Bernard Frize examines the components of painting. In an experimental design that choreographs a series of strictly planned interventions and random factors, paintings are created that seem programmatically depersonalized and dancingly spontaneous at the same time, and yet do not reveal the process with which they are created.

For his “Parkett-Edition” (Booklet 74, 2005), Frize shrunk his work “Heawood” (1999) from 130 centimeters to a handy format of 24 centimeters in length. The work “Percy John Heawood Theorem” is a double torus, on whose surface eight colors each come into contact with one other one time.

The English mathematician Percy John Heawood (1861–1955) developed a momentous theory in 1890: four colors are sufficient so that fields randomly adjacent to one another on a surface never have the same color. This conjecture comes from cartography; Heawood developed it further for three-dimensional bodies. He observed that no more than eight colors can be arranged on a double torus in such a way that each comes into contact with each of the others one time. Since the 1960s, mathematicians had been striving to prove the four-color theorem on the computer; success was achieved in 2004. It was the first great mathematical problem solved with computers.

The master for the model for the “Parkett-Edition” was constructed digitally in cooperation with Urs P. Roth. From the dataset, a stereo-lithograph was produced, reworked by hand and a silicon negative was then produced from it. The Heawood-Tori was then cast in a hard polyurethane resin.

Fine grooves indicate the delimitations of the color surfaces. The precise application of color proved to be a time-consuming procedure. A primer was first finely sanded, making the base shine through again. When being spraying afterwards, each of the eight colors had to be applied individually and the others covered when doing so. Half of the castings were colored by Color Konzept in Arbon; Pascal Thalmann from Zurich was responsible for the other half.

The “Parkett-Edition” was produced in an edition of 70; 25 are numbered with roman numbers and 45 with Arabic numbers.

“The recipe: eight colors, seven borders, and chance under control; for once, salvation is immanent.” (Parkett)