Paris

Bernard Frize, Heawood (detail), 2003. Installation view, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Bernard Frize, Heawood (detail), 2003. Installation view, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Bernard Frize

Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris

What is the greatest number of color fields that can be arranged so that each maintains a border with all others? Bernard Frize’s Heawood, 1999, a pair of painted sculptures in the permanent collection of the MAMVP, and Heawood, 2003, the thirteen digital prints that introduce this show of the artist’s mostly recent paintings, address this thorny question. The works’ namesake, British mathematician Percy John Heawood, labored over this and related problems (which originated in cartography) in the years surrounding the turn of the last century; at one point, exploring three-dimensional forms, he determined that no more than eight fields of color can abut one another on the surface of a double torus (a volume shaped, in accidental analogy, exactly like a three-dimensional figure eight). The twin Heawood sculptures are based on this formula.

Among Frize’s few forays into three dimensions (

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