Thursday, 11 September 2014

Allan McCollum’s Perfect Couples

 Allan McCollum's latest exhibition, The Shapes Project: Perfect Couples, opened last week at Petzel Gallery in New York.  McCollum has combined his interest in population growth and art,and in 2005 devised The Shapes Project, which is a system for producing unique shapes. Utilizing this plan, the artist is able to create a two-dimensional representation for each person on the planet, without ever repeating the same shape twice. 

The Shapes Project is an exploration of art, identity, mathematics and actual population data, devised in a system that has been organized to produce over 31,000,000,000 different shapes. The shapes represent not only individuals in the current population, but also the projected population. It is designed to keep track of every individual iteration, ensuring that no two are alike.  Each shape exists as an Adobe Illustrator vector graphic, enabling it to exist two-dimensionally, three-dimensionally, or simply digitally. They can be made in any medium, size, color or texture, by hand with pencil and paper and other art materials or handcraft tools , or using outputting devices like desktop printers, CNC machines, water jet cutters, or 3D printers, but each remains uniquely itself in form, regardless of material or size. Yet, despite the fact that the system for each shape has been completed and designed, the task of producing each piece would take longer than McCollum’s lifetime. Instead, the project, if it is to be completed, must be passed on as a legacy with McCollum enlisting the help of others.