Keith Sonnier

Pi, 1978
Glass tubes, argon, neon, transformer
140 x 145 cm

The number π is one of the most mysterious symbols in mathematics. It is an invariable constant which describes the ratio of a circle's diameter to its circumference and cannot be written as the ratio of two whole numbers, i.e. as a fraction. The designation of the number π is derived from the initial letters of the Greek term for periphery (periphereia) or perimeter (perimetros). Like Maurizio Nannucci, who has two works in the EPO collection, Keith Sonnier (*1941 Mamou, US  † 2020 Southampton, US) works extensively with the relationship between light and lettering.

The work Pi recreates the Greek letter using three neon strip lights and the cables that link them in the three primary colours blue, yellow and red. The number is transformed into an ephemeral object that represents and simultaneously surpasses scientific knowledge. In this piece, Sonnier comments on the relationship between art and science and indicates a space beyond logic that is meaningful for both the arts and the sciences.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn